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Observers Laud Angola’s Peaceful Poll

Ballot counting has begun in Angola on after polls closed in what was widely seen as the most competitive vote in the country’s democratic history, with incumbent President Joao Lourenco squaring up against charismatic opposition leader Adalberto Costa Junior. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has ruled the oil-rich nation for nearly five decades, faced its most serious challenge since the first multiparty vote in 1992. Eight political parties were running, but the main contest lay between the MPLA and its long-standing rival and ex-rebel movement the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Pre-voting opinion polls suggested that support for the MPLA – which won 61 percent of the vote in 2017 elections – would dwindle, while the UNITA – which has entered an electoral pact with two other parties – would make gains.