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Cablegate: Mpla Sustains Commanding Lead in Vote Tally As

VZCZCXRO9690
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0704/01 2541248
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101248Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5019
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LUANDA 000704

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PHUM AO
SUBJECT: MPLA SUSTAINS COMMANDING LEAD IN VOTE TALLY AS
MOST OPPOSITION PARTIES CONCEDE

REF: LUANDA 00702

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The ruling MPLA has maintained its
overwhelming lead as vote counting continues, with over 81
percent of the vote as counting nears completion. Eleven of
the 13 opposition parties and coalitions have conceded
defeat. International observation missions have universally
praised the wide voter turnout and peaceful nature of the
elections, but remain divided on the degree to which these
elections can be considered as credible and transparent. The
opposition parties, rapid acceptance of their defeat,
however, lends credibility to the results. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) As the counting of tendered ("special") and
contested ballots continues, the MPLA has solidified its
overwhelming victory at the polls, one which significantly
changes the make-up of the incoming parliament. Under current
trends, the Embassy projects the MPLA will win at least 79 of
a possible 90 provincial seats and 110 of 130 national seats,
for a total of about 190 of 220 seats in Parliament. This is
a large increase from the 129 seats the party won in the 1992
elections. UNITA is poised to win between 3 to 6 provincial
seats and about 14 national seats; leaving it with a best
case result of 20 seats, compared to the 70 seats it won in
1992. PRS is likely to add one seat to the 6 they won in
1992, while the FNLA will hold on to only 2 of its 5 seats.
A new coalition of smaller parties called Novo Democracia
("New Democracy", or ND), performed well, and is likely to
win one national seat. Of the remaining contestants in the
race, only the PDP-ANA has the possibility of winning one
seat.

3. (SBU) Most opposition parties have accepted their clear
defeat at the polls. Some simply recognized the outcome;
others congratulated the MPLA. Some parties, such as the
PRS, used their statement to the press to urge the MPLA to
govern in the interests of the people. Several parties,
including PDP-ANA, FpD, PAJOCA and PRD, apologized to their
supporters for their parties' poor showing at the polls. PRD
President Luis dos Passos tendered his resignation in
recognition of his party's poor performance.

4. (SBU) The Embassy's statement on the election will be
reported septel. Other international observation missions
unanimously expressed praise for the peaceful nature of the
elections. Their statements offered suggested areas for
improvement in the next electoral cycle:

EU

-- "Angola's first elections in 16 years were conducted in a
calm and peaceful atmosphere nationwide."

-- Elections are a "crucial step forwards democracy despite
organizational weakness."

-- Voters "turned out in large numbers and voted freely."

-- Certain procedures, such as the handling of the voters
list, were "inconsistently applied."

SADC

-- Congratulated the people of Angola for "peaceful, free,
transparent, and credible elections which reflect the will of
the people."

-- In a four-page report that was generally positive, noted
problems with impartial voter education, delays in publishing
voter rolls, the "overwhelming advantage" of the ruling party
on the state-controlled media, and the delays in opening the
polls "as prescribed by law."

AU

-- The voting process was "peaceful and transparent."

-- Called the non-accreditation of large numbers of
civil-society observes, absence of voter rolls in polling
station, failure to check voters against the voter register,
late opening of polling stations, and late delivery of key
materials "areas that need to be addressed."

Pan-African Parliament

-- "The vote counting was transparent"

-- Recommend changes to the composition of the National
Electoral Commission.

-- Suggested the ruling party limit the influence of the

LUANDA 00000704 002 OF 002


power of the incumbency.

The Community of Portuguese-Language Countries (CPLP)

-- the elections were "free and transparent."

Government of Portugal

-- recognized the logistical difficulties

-- "these elections are considered to have allowed the free
expression of the will of the Angolan people."


5. (SBU) COMMENT: Both international observers and opposition
parties have widely commented on logistical and other flaws
in the conduct of these elections; irregularities that raise
legitimate concerns about the conduct of the election. The
opposition's ready acceptance of their defeat, combined with
observer's conclusions that the election, despite its flaws,
is credible, supports the legitimacy of the election results.
END COMMENT
MOZENA

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