Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

How well can African elections work?

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By the standards of other recent African elections, the aftermath of Angola’s parliamentary ballot at the weekend has been fairly tame.

But polling station chaos that led to an extra day of voting and accusations of cheating from the opposition badly undermined Angola’s hope that the ballot would set a example for the continent after elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

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The picture of organisational confusion and cries of foul at Angola’s first election in 16 years, the first since the end of its civil war, were all too familiar in Africa.

It is now almost two decades since African states, facing popular calls for change and under donor pressure, started to adopt multiparty democracy.

Angola votes

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UNITA leader votes in Angola******Angola’s last election led to the resumption of civil war that took another decade to end and cost countless lives.******This time the atmosphere  around the election is very different, despite some initial problems at voting stations – scores failed to open on time in Luanda, which could lead to an extension of voting.******The ruling MPLA won the war in 2002 when UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi was killed. His former rebel group has now been transformed into a political party, but it is given little chance of electoral success and is unable to do much but complain the campaign has been unfair.******mesavoto2.jpg******Angola is one of the world’s fastest growing economies thanks to booming oil production – not that much of the wealth has trickled down to the two-thirds of Angolans who live on less than $2 a day.******The election is being touted by Angola’s government as a demonstration of how far the country has come from the civil war and an example in Africa after flawed elections elsewhere.******Angolan ruling MPLA party stand******But the MPLA’s electoral dominance meant the contest was very one-sided and there appears little chance of a dispute on the scale of those that led to the troubles in Kenya and Zimbabwe, where election results were close.******The election is undoubtedly a big step for Angola. How significant will it prove for Africa as a whole?

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