Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, should investigate opposition complaints following the Aug. 31 elections won by the ruling party of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the U.S. State Department said.
“We urge the Angolan authorities to investigate and address promptly all electoral complaints, while working to augment political rights and civil liberties,” Patrick Ventrell, an acting spokesman for the department, said in a statement on its website yesterday.
Angolan civil society and opposition parties raised concerns about media access, voter rolls, and lack of timely accreditation of domestic, international, and political party election observers, Ventrell said. The opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola has said it’s considering whether to challenge the results in the Constitutional Court.
The vote is the second since a 27-year civil war ended in 2002. Angola pumps about 1.8 million barrels of crude a day, supplying 2.9 percent of U.S. imported oil in May and 16 percent of China’s purchases in July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Oil producers operating in the country include Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX), BP Plc (BP/) and Total SA. (FP)
The U.S. statement “is all part of democracy and free speech that people can say what they want to say,” Julia Ferreira, a spokeswoman for the national election commission, said by phone in Luanda.
The Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa, a pro- democracy group funded by George Soros, and the Luanda-based Association of Justice Peace and Democracy have said the election wasn’t fair. While observer missions led by the Africa Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and the Southern Africa Development Community raised the same concerns as the U.S. in statements this week, they all said the results were credible.
With about 98 percent of the votes counted, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola leads with 72 percent of votes, extending Dos Santos’s 33-year rule by five years.
Unita won 19 percent and Casa-Ce, a new party formed this year by a former senior Unita leader, Abel Chivukuvuku, got 6 percent. Final results are due by Sept. 8, the chairman of the election commission said today.
Unita, Casa-Ce and two other parties haven’t formally accepted the results and are conducting their own counts using poll documents because of concern over the number of registered voters and those who voted, the parties said in separate statements this week. About 40 percent of registered voters didn’t cast ballots, according to the election commission.
Former colonial ruler Portugal as well as China and Russia have congratulated Dos Santos on the victory, according to state-run radio.
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