Angola's longtime president poised to get another term

Angola
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- With much of the vote counted, Angola's ruling party was poised for victory in parliamentary elections Saturday, which would ensure another term in office for longtime President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Dos Santos, 70, has been in power for 33 years, and is set for an additional five-year term if his Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola wins the parliamentary vote. Under Angola's election system, the leader of party that wins parliamentary elections becomes president.

With nearly 60% of the ballots counted, the MPLA was comfortably ahead, with almost three-quarters of the vote.

Critics accuse the MPLA of running the country, Africa's second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, virtually as a one-party state, dominating state media in the run-up to the vote.

The main opposition party, the former rebel movement the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), charges that under Dos Santos, the huge oil wealth has benefited a tiny elite, including members of the president's family, while more than half the population lives in dire poverty.

UNITA had won almost 18% of the vote, while a smaller party, the Broad Convergence for Angola's Salvation, which split from UNITA in March, had just under 5%.

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--Robyn Dixon

Photo: An Angolan newspaper street seller holds up copies of papers in Luanda on Saturday. Credit: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

 
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