News24

Polls open in Angolan election

2012-08-31 09:42

Luanda - Polls opened on Friday in Angola's third election in 37 years, widely expected to return long-ruling President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to power in the oil-rich nation despite a revitalised opposition movement.

From 07:00 (06:00 GMT) voters headed to more than 10 000 schools and colleges across the country to cast ballots for parliamentarians, with the leader of the winning party set to become president.

The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), in power since independence from Portugal in 1975, is expected to sweep to victory which would hand Dos Santos, Africa's second-longest ruling leader, another five years in office.

Voting got off to a slow start. About 30 people lined up to cast ballots at a technical college in Boa Vista, a seaside slum next to Luanda's port where shack dwellings are collapsing down the hillside.

Change

"I came here to vote because I want to see some change in our country," said jobless Emmanuel Mpulenga, 23.

Voter Abel Franscico Sibalanga, who was the first in the queue, said he was at the polling station two hours before it was due to open.

"I came here early because voting is important for our country," he said.

Voting will close 11 hours later, with results expected to start coming in over the weekend. A final result could take around five days.

The National Electoral Commission said more than 97 000 observers from the nine parties contesting Friday's general elections had been accredited to watch over the vote.

Party observers were the first to cast ballots to allow them to watch the vote.