cloudy.png
Wednesday September 18th, 2019 11:54AM

Angola votes for 1st new president in nearly 4 decades

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Angolans voted Wednesday in an election in which the defense minister is the front-runner to succeed President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who will step down after 38 years in power in an oil-rich country beset by widespread poverty and corruption.

About 9.3 million Angolans were registered to vote for the 220-member National Assembly; the winning party will then select the president. Dos Santos' chosen successor is Joao Lourenco, the defense minister and a former governor who fought in the war against Portuguese colonial rule as well as the long civil war that ended in 2002.

Dos Santos, accompanied by wife Ana Paula dos Santos, and Lourenco voted separately in Luanda, the capital, reported the state-run Agencia Angola Press. The main opposition leader, Isaias Samakuva of the UNITA party, cast his ballot at a university in a Luanda suburb.

Minor flaws in the voting process included delays in the opening of some polling stations, especially in remote areas, said Andre da Silva Neto, president of the election commission.

The peaceful election, however, could serve as "an example to follow in those countries where, especially here in Africa, we constantly find that electoral processes are transformed into battlefields. Unnecessary deaths and unnecessary damage," said the election chief, according to the Portuguese news agency Lusa.

Angolan rights activists have alleged that the ruling MPLA party unfairly used state machinery ahead of the election, noting that most media coverage focused on the MPLA campaign. Opposition parties have said there were irregularities ahead of the voting.

Election observers from other African countries monitored the vote, but the European Union did not send a full-fledged observer mission because it said the Angolan government wanted to impose restrictions, including limited access to polling stations around the country.

Some voters said they were satisfied with the voting process. "It was very fast," Luanda voter Francisco Joao Lopes told Lusa.

Another voter, 20-year-old Solange Moangongo, proudly showed an index finger marked with indelible ink, a measure designed to prevent people from trying to vote more than once.

"I feel like I am an adult because for the first time I was able to exercise my right to vote," said Moangongo, according to Lusa. "I hope that my vote will make a difference in these elections."

The MPLA party, whose Portuguese acronym means Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, won the 2012 election with 72 percent of votes amid allegations of irregularities. UNITA, or the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, a former rebel force that fought the MPLA in Angola's civil war, is the main opposition challenger.

Angola is beset by graft and human rights concerns, though some analysts believe new leadership could open the way to more accountability.

Lourenco, 63, has pledged to fight graft and is seen as a symbol of stability and even incremental change. Critics, however, point to entrenched patronage networks benefiting an elite that includes Isabel dos Santos, the president's daughter and head of the state oil company Sonangol, and Jose Filomeno dos Santos, a son in charge of the country's sovereign wealth fund.

Additionally, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, 74, is expected to remain ruling party leader, though there are concerns about his health since he received medical treatment in Spain this year.

There are opportunities for fiscal reform if Lourenco becomes Angola's new president as expected, said a senior analyst at Exotix Capital, an investment bank that focuses on developing economies.

"While we expect broad continuity, investors will be hoping to see further measures to improve transparency and a boost for the private sector," analyst Stuart Culverhouse said in a statement.

___

Follow Christopher Torchia on Twitter at www.twitter.com/torchiachris

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Yemen officials: Saudi-led coalition strikes hotel, many die
Yemen officials, witnesses: Saudi-led strikes hit a hotel near the capital, Sanaa, killing dozens of rebels, civilians.
8:48AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Germany finishes bringing gold reserves back from France
Germany's central bank says it's finished bringing home the last of its gold reserves it plans on repatriating, which had been stashed abroad during the Cold War
8:47AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Prominent Russian theater director put under house arrest
A court in Moscow has put a widely revered Russian theater director under house arrest on charges of embezzling $1.1 million, which he has denied
8:45AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Police: DNA of headless torso matches Swedish journalist
Danish police says a headless torso found in the Baltic Sea has been identified as that of missing Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who is believed to have died on an amateur-built submarine that sank earlier this month
8:06AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Spain attacks: Police find belt with real explosives
Spain attacks: Police find belt with real explosives in a house where a fatal explosion last week derailed the initial plans by an extremist cell to strike with bombs in Barcelona rather than the van attack that eventually killed 13 people.
7:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: France, Spain ministers remember attack victims
The interior ministers of France and Spain have held a minute of silence for the victims of the Spain attacks at the start of a meeting at the French gendarmerie headquarters outside Paris
7:20AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Lowe's not catching the same tail wind Home Depot is riding
Lowe's 2Q profit leaves investors wanting and its outlook for the year sent some of them scurrying for the exits
7:09AM ( 1 hour ago )
Lowe's misses Street 2Q forecasts
Lowe's posts 2Q profit, results miss Street expectations
6:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
Global markets calm ahead of Jackson Hole meeting
Global stock markets are little changed as geopolitical risks and turmoil at the White House that have dented investor sentiment in the past few weeks abated while investors eyed the annual gathering of central bankers around the world
4:59AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
Studies find automated safety systems preventing car crashes
Researchers say safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or that warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to significantly reduce crashes
3:25AM ( 5 hours ago )
Walmart dives into voice-activated shopping with Google
Walmart dives into voice-activated shopping in partnership with Google
12:09AM ( 8 hours ago )
Colorado: No online oil, gas pipeline map after fatal blast
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says the state won't offer an online map of oil and gas pipelines after a fatal house explosion that was blamed on a leaking pipeline, citing security concerns
6:51PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Yemen officials: Saudi-led coalition strikes hotel, many die
Yemen officials, witnesses: Saudi-led strikes hit a hotel near the capital, Sanaa, killing dozens of rebels, civilians.
8:48AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Germany finishes bringing gold reserves back from France
Germany's central bank says it's finished bringing home the last of its gold reserves it plans on repatriating, which had been stashed abroad during the Cold War
8:47AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Prominent Russian theater director put under house arrest
A court in Moscow has put a widely revered Russian theater director under house arrest on charges of embezzling $1.1 million, which he has denied
8:45AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Trump adviser Kushner in Cairo for talks on Mideast peace
White House adviser Jared Kushner has arrived in Cairo, his latest stop on a tour of the Middle East to explore ways to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process
8:41AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Dutch activists in legal battle to urge action on pollution
Environmentalists have gone to court to demand that the Dutch government take urgent action to improve air quality, arguing that authorities have not done enough to meet European Union-mandated targets
8:31AM ( 31 minutes ago )