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Cablegate: Final Results of Angola's Legislative Elections

VZCZCXRO6153
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0732/01 2621813
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181813Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5036
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LUANDA 000732

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM AO
SUBJECT: FINAL RESULTS OF ANGOLA'S LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS
CONFIRM MPLA LANDSLIDE

REF: LUANDA 0723

1. (U) SUMMARY: The ruling MPLA's sweeping victory of 81.6
percent of the voters in the September 5-6 legislative
elections was finalized with the announcement of the final
results by the National Electoral Commission. The MPLA now
holds 191 out of 220 seat in Parliament; UNITA's total fell
to 16; PRS increased to 8; FNLA fell to 3; and the surprise
newcomer Nova Democracia won two seats. UNITA's appeal of
the Luanda results was rejected by the Constitution Court on
September 15, clearing the path for the release of the final
tally. END SUMMARY.

The Big Winner: MPLA
---------------------

2. (U) In the final tally, the ruling MPLA received 81.6
percent of the votes vast, earning it 191 of 220 seats in
Parliament. Turnout was high; 7.2 million votes were cast,
representing 87.4 percent of registered voters. The MPLA
absolutely dominated the provincial circuit, winning 84 out
of 90 available provincial seats in addition to 107 out of
130 national seats. Its victory included sweeping all 5
provincial seats in provinces formerly seen as UNITA's
traditional base, including Huambo, Kuando Kubango, Benguela,
and Moxico. The MPLA's victory gives it total control of not
only the National Assembly, but in forming Angola's first
post-war government and drafting a new constitution.

The Biggest Loser: UNITA
-------------------------

3. (SBU) In a humbling loss, UNITA won only 10.5 percent of
the vote, giving it 16 seats in comparison to the 70 seats it
held in the last Assembly by 34 percent of the vote in the
1992 elections. UNITA won only 2 provincial seats, one in
Bie and the other in Cabinda. The party had appealed the
vote tally in Luanda (reftel), but the Constitutional Court
rejected their petition on September 15 due to lack of
evidence; the appeal was hamstrung by the failure of party
election monitors to note irregularities in the polling
stations on the official station record as they occurred, as
required by law. The party now faces a myriad of challenges
in defining its new, much-reduced profile - not the least of
which is determining how best to tighten its belt due to the
reduction in government subsidies that accompanies its loss
of seats. NOTE: The GRA subsidizes parties based on the
number of seats held in Parliament; UNITA was estimated to
have received 8 million USD per year when it held 70 seats.
END NOTE

The Little Winner: PRS
-----------------------

4. (SBU) Other than the MPLA, PRS is the only party with
seats in the previous parliament to have bettered its
standings. The party took 3.2 percent of the vote and
increased its seats in Parliament from 6 to 8 seats. The PRS
not only showed that has held on to its old electorate by
maintaining its two provincial seats in Lunda Sul and one in
Lunda Norte, but also showed that it managed to increased its
support nationwide by winning an additional 2 seats from the
national circle.

The Slow Fade: FNLA
--------------------

5. (SBU) Once the most powerful political force in Angola,
the FNLA continues to fade from political prominence. The
party won 1.1 percent of the vote and 3 total seats, one from
their traditional base in Zaire province and the other two
from the national circuit. This represents a lost of two
seats for a party generally seen as aging and ineffective.

The Cinderella Story: Nova Democracia
---------------------------------------

6. (SBU) One big surprise in these elections was the
emergence of Nova Democracia (ND), which won 1.2 percent of
the vote and 2 seats from the national circle. Theories
abound as to how a fairly new, low-profile party that did
very little visible campaigning fared better than so many
other established political voices. One theory states the
party, which was positioned directly above the MPLA on the
ballot, received an "MPLA Bounce" when a largely illiterate
electorate simply marked the wrong box. Another theory
posits that voters, in looking at a ballot full of
non-choices, shrugged and simply picked a name that sounded
good - "New Democracy." A more analytical notion is that the
party may have, in fact, succeeded in drawing in young voters
through grassroots campaigning. One party founder, Jose

LUANDA 00000732 002 OF 002


Fula, is the former leader of FNLA's youth wing, and some
analysts speculate that the root of the FNLA's poor
performance lies in the defection of many youthful supporters
when Fula left to form ND.

Looking for Work: The Fate of the Eight
---------------------------------------

7. (SBU) Of the other nine parties contesting the election,
only PDP-ANA, with 0.51 percent of the vote, will survive to
fight another day. According to electoral law, the eight
parties that did not achieve 0.5 percent of the vote will now
be proscribed.

8. (SBU) COMMENT: As the election dust finally settles,
Angola finds itself under even stronger one-party domination,
albeit one chosen by the people. Yet to be seen is how and
whether meaningful democracy can take root in such a
circumstance. END COMMENT
MOZENA

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