Angola’s Ruling Party Claims Majority in Election

Dos Santos' chosen successor is Joao Lourenco, the defense minister and a former governor.

Photographer: Ampe Rogerio/AFP via Getty Images

Johannesburg (AP) -- The Latest on Angola's election (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Angola's election commission says the ruling MPLA party shows a wide lead in the presidential vote with more than 65 percent of ballots counted.

The MPLA has 64 percent of the votes counted so far, with the main opposition UNITA party with 24 percent.

The ruling party has already claimed victory in Wednesday's election, saying it won a majority and that Defense Minister Joao Lourenco would replace longtime President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

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5:40 p.m.

Angola's election commission says the ruling MPLA party has won 64 percent of votes counted in provisional results.

The commission says the MPLA's tally is based on a count of nearly 6 million ballots. Angola has 9.3 million registered voters.

The MPLA earlier claimed victory in Wednesday's election, saying it had won a majority and that Defense Minister Joao Lourenco would replace longtime President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The main opposition UNITA party has disputed the claim, saying its tally showed a narrower race.

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3:30 p.m.

The main opposition party in Angola says its own partial tally from national elections indicates that it is trailing the ruling party by only 7 percent, contradicting the ruling party's claim that it won a majority.

The UNITA party says it has 40 percent of two million votes in its count, compared to 47 percent for the ruling MPLA party. It says another opposition group, CASA-CE, has 9 percent in the partial count from Wednesday's election.

UNITA has said it would be willing to form a coalition with other opposition groups in order to govern.

The MPLA claims it won a majority with five million votes counted in its own tally.

Angola's election commission has yet to release any results.

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1:35 p.m.

The main opposition party in Angola is challenging the ruling party's claim that it won national elections and is urging the country's election commission to release provisional results.

The Portuguese news agency Lusa reports that Raul Danda, vice president of the opposition UNITA party, said Thursday that results from its own count "completely contradict" the assertion of the ruling MPLA party that it won a majority with five million votes counted so far.

The MPLA party says its alleged victory opens the way for Defense Minister Joao Lourenco to succeed President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power for 38 years.

Angola's election commission has not released any results of the vote. About 9.3 million Angolans were registered to vote for the 220-member National Assembly; the winning party then selects the president.

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12:20 p.m.

Angola's ruling party says it has won a majority in the country's election with five million votes counted so far, opening the way for the defense minister to succeed President Jose Eduardo dos Santos after his 38-year rule.

The report Thursday by Portuguese news agency Lusa comes as the main opposition UNITA party alleges that police fired shots and made arrests near some polling stations Wednesday in Huambo city.

Election officials say the vote went smoothly despite minor problems.

About 9.3 million Angolans were registered to vote for the 220-member National Assembly; the winning party then selects the president. Dos Santos' chosen successor is Joao Lourenco, the defense minister and a former governor.

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11 a.m.

Angolans are awaiting the results of an election in which the defense minister is the front-runner to succeed President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who will quit after 38 years in power.

While election officials say Wednesday's vote went smoothly despite minor problems, the main opposition UNITA party alleges that police fired shots and made arrests near some polling stations as people voted in Huambo city.

The Portuguese news agency Lusa quotes a UNITA official, Liberty Chiaka, as saying police dispersed crowds because they didn't want people to wait to find out results at the polling stations.

In the 2012 election, UNITA lost to the ruling MPLA party, which denied allegations of voting irregularities.

Dos Santos' chosen successor is Joao Lourenco, the defense minister and a former governor.

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