Angola’s Ruling MPLA Has 74% of Provisional Vote Count

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola led a preliminary ballot count with 74 percent of yesterday’s vote in Africa’s second largest oil producer.

The opposition Union for the Total Independence of Angola received 18 percent in the first election to help choose a president in 20 years, Julia Ferreira, spokesman for the national election commission, said in Luanda, the capital.

“The results are provisional, but extremely positive for us,” Rui Falcao, a spokesman for the MPLA, said on Angolan national radio. “We will have a qualified majority.”

A confirmed victory will give the MPLA control of the southwest African country’s 220-member legislature and extend the president’s 32-year rule as the party that dominates parliament will choose the leader. The win will also allow the party to revise the constitution because it earned more than two-thirds of the vote. The MPLA won 82 percent four years ago in the first election since a 27-year civil war ended in 2002.

About 57 percent of more than 9 million eligible voters across the country went to the polls peacefully for a legitimate outcome, John Billy Tendwa, chairman of the Southern African Development Community’s Electoral Advisory Council, said by phone today.

“It was a credible election because there was no hindrance, violence or intimidation of people trying to exercise their right to vote,” he said. “Everything was cool.”

Constitutional Court

During the campaign, the MPLA pledged to maintain the stability it credits for spurring an economy that may expand 6.8 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The party promised to ease some of the world’s most severe poverty.

The opposition Unita campaigned on what it said was the failure of Angola’s oil wealth, which increased foreign reserves to a record $30.2 billion in June, to cut poverty and unemployment in the country of 19 million people.

“We’re still working out our position,” Alcides Sakala, spokesman for Unita leader Isaias Samakuva, said by phone. “We have the right to use the tribunals of the Constitutional Court.” Yesterday, Samakuva criticized the conduct of the election and said he may seek court action to challenge the results.

Unita nearly doubled its results from the 2008 election, an outcome that will temper any complaints, Markus Weimer, an analyst at Chatham House in London, said by phone. Any challenges made may be a “long drawn-out affair.”

Casa-Ce, a party formed this year by former Unita leader Abel Chivukuvuku, “did well running for the first time and probably will be represented in parliament,” Weimer said. Casa-Ce got 4.5 percent of the vote, according to Ferreira.

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 in July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Oil producers operating in the country include Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., BP Plc and Total SA.

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