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#AngolaDecides: Defense Minister Joao Lourenco declared winner of Angola poll

Angola’s MPLA party has claimed a widely expected election victory, setting the stage for a change of leadership since 1979. The victory means Defense Minister Joao Lourenco will be the country’s next president after being picked by the party to replace President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who is stepping down after leading Angola for the past 38 years.

The National Electoral Commission said Friday that MPLA received just over 61 percent of the vote in Wednesday’s election The main opposition UNITA party came in second with 26.7 percent.

UNITA had questioned earlier provisional results, saying their independent tallies gave them a greater share of the vote but the party has not decided whether it will challenge the results in court, TodayNG reports.

Despite its commanding victory, MPLA’s share of the vote was significantly lower than in its previous victories. In the 2008 election, the party won 82 percent the vote. In the last election in 2012, the party received 72 percent.

The MPLA has been accused in recent times of plundering state resources in the oil-rich nation. During the campaign, opposition parties accused the ruling party of using government resources for campaigning.

The MPLA has however denied irregularities, and observers have largely praised the poll for being peaceful and orderly.

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