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Angola ruling party wins vote and president a second term

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Angola’s MPLA party was on Monday declared the winner of the closely fought election, extending its decades-long rule in the oil-rich country and handing President Joao Lourenco a second term.

Official results announced by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) reported the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola won 51.17 percent of the ballots against 43.95 percent for the main challenger the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 23, 2022 Angola incumbent President Joao Lourenco gestures as he addresses an elections rally in Luanda. – Angola’s long ruling MPLA party was declared the winner of the closely fought election on August 29, 2022, extending its decades long rule in the oil-rich country and handing President Joao Lourenco a second term. (Photo by Julio PACHECO NTELA / AFP)

“The CNE proclaims Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, president of the republic,” commission head Manuel Pereira da Silva told a press conference.

The vote was the tightest in Angola’s history.

Results in past elections have been contested — a process that can take several weeks.

UNITA — a former rebel movement that fought a bitter 27-year civil war against the MPLA government that ended in 2002 — had earlier rejected provisional results.

UNITA leader Adalberto Costa Junior, 60, last week called for an international panel to review the count.

The MPLA has traditionally wielded control over the electoral process as well as state media, and opposition and civic groups have in recent days raised fears of voter tampering.

The MPLA, a former liberation movement, has ruled Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975.

But it has seen a steady decline in support over recent elections.

Lourenco, a 68-year-old former general educated in the Soviet Union, was first elected in 2017, winning 61 percent of the vote.