The incumbent president of Angola, Joao Lourenco, is facing off against the charismatic opposition leader Adalberto Costa Junior in what is expected to be the most competitive election in the country’s history of democratic elections. Voting began on Wednesday. A weak economy, a high cost of living, growing poverty made worse by the COVID pandemic, drought in southern portions of the country, and the passing of a previous authoritarian president are all major concerns.
The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party, which has been in power for almost half a century in the nation of Angola, which is rich in oil, is currently facing the most significant challenge since the country’s first multiparty vote in 1992. Lindo, a 27-year-old electrician who only gave his first name while waiting in line to vote in a middle-class suburb of Nova Vida, said, “It’s been 20 years of peace and we are still poor.” Lindo’s comment was made by a man who only revealed his first name. “I will vote for Unita.” “The people want the government to change because it doesn’t meet their basic needs.”
There are eight political parties competing for office, but the major competition will be between the MPLA and its long-time adversary and former rebel movement, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Opinion polls indicate that support for the MPLA, which won 61 percent of the vote in elections held in 2017, will decrease. On the other hand, support for UNITA, which has teamed up with two other parties to run for office, is likely to grow.
However, while making progress, UNITA may not be able to topple Lourenco, who is anticipated to win a second term in office lasting five years. In spite of this, it is highly doubtful that the 68-year-old would have a seamless transition back into office. He took over as a veteran leader from Jose Eduardo Dos Santos five years ago.
According to Eric Humphery-Smith, an analyst at Verisk Maplecroft in London, “The margins will be narrower than ever before, but the advantages of incumbency imply MPLA is still odds-on to pip Costa (Junior).” Even though the MPLA still controls both how people vote and the public media in Angola, the opposition is telling its supporters not to be afraid.