Angola votes, Dos Santos favourite to win

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Angola votes, Dos Santos favourite to win

by AFP Videos 1:54 mins

Angola votes, Dos Santos favourite to win

by AFP Videos 1:54 mins

SHOTLIST:LUANDA, 31 AUGUST 2012, SOURCE: AFPTVSOUNDBITE 1 Pedro Verona Pires (man), African Union's observer team and former president of Cape Verde (French, 24 sec):"I've spoken to voters, I've spoken to officials and I've also spoken to the party members. So that's given me a chance to see, or to have an idea, that the atmosphere has been normal good even, relaxed because people weren't annoyed."["J'ai pu parlé avec les électeurs, j'ai pu parlé avec les members du bureau et j'ai pu parlé aussi avec les délégués des partis. Donc ça m'a permis de voir, ou d'avoir une idée, que l'ambience était normal, bonne plutôt, détendue parce que les gens n'étaient pas énervés."SOUNDBITE 2 Pedro Verona Pires (man), African Union's observer team and former president of Cape Verde (French, 8 sec):"It's satisfactory from my point of view as well as in the opinion of those in the polling stations."["C'est satisfaisant de mon point de vue et d'accord avec l'opinion des gens qui sont dans les bureaux de votes."]SOUNDBITE 3 Voxpop (man), dissatisfied voter (Portuguese, 17 sec):"I couldn't vote because they wanted me to go to another specific place. This should't be. This shouldn't be. Nowhere in the world is it like that. An Angolan can't exercise his right to vote."+ 55 sec of images showing: - VAR votes being counted------------AFP TEXT STORY Angola-vote,4thlead-WRAP Angola votes, Dos Santos favourite to win by Griffin Shea =(PICTURE+VIDEO)= ATTENTION - UPDATES with some polls open late /// LUANDA, Aug 31, 2012 (AFP) - Angolans voted Friday in the country's third election since independence, with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos expected to extend his grip on power in the oil-rich nation despite a resurgent opposition. Most of the more than 10,000 polling stations set up at schools across the country, twice the size of France, shut on time and vote counting started immediately. The electoral authority said some polls stayed open late, without elaborating. Voting saw a few hiccups but was a dramatic improvement on the last elections in 2008 when the ballot had to be extended into a second day due to chaos at polling stations. Pedro Verona Pires, chief of the African Union's observer team, described the poll's organisation as "satisfactory", adding that "the voters' state of mind is good". "Everyone agrees that the elections this year were better organised than in 2008," Pires, who is also the former president of Cape Verde, told AFP. The opposition Unita party had expressed fears that its supporters would be turned away from the ballot box due to problems with the voter roll, while not all of its monitors were allowed into the polling stations. Voters were picking lawmakers for the 220-seat parliament. The leader of the the party that takes the vote automatically becomes the head of state. There is little doubt that Dos Santos will extend his 33-year reign. His People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) took more than 80 percent of the vote in 2008 polls deemed legitimate by observers despite the troubles at the polling stations. Dos Santos has used his decades in office to centralise most power in his hands. His family, particularly his daughter Isabel, has capitalised on Angola's oil boom to build an international business empire. He has also poured billions into rebuilding Angola after 41 years of warfare, with 14 years of armed struggle against colonial power Portugal turning into a 27-year civil war after independence in 1975. He has used his dominance over state media to showcase roads, dams, schools and clinics built since the fighting ended a decade ago. Life in Angola has by most measures improved. The economy over the past decade was among the fastest-growing in the world. Per capita gross domestic product was nearly $1,900 in 2009 -- triple that of 2000. Life expectancy went up from about 40 in 1980 to above 51 now. The main opposition Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) argues that the economic gains have mainly benefited an elite showered with oil riches, while 55 percent of the population still live in dire poverty. Party leader Isaias Samakuva has criticised the electoral process, saying many names on the voter roll could not be authenticated. "I did my civic duty, even if we are still not satisfied with the electoral process," he said after voting. After taking only 10 percent of the vote in 2008, the former rebel movement needs a strong showing to prove that it remains relevant in modern politics. But that task has been complicated by a dramatic split in April. The charismatic Abel Chivukuvuku broke away to form the Casa party along with a top-level MPLA defector, smaller opposition groups and prominent figures in civil society. Casa has made in-roads by courting young voters with promises of jobs and better living conditions, striking a chord with the youth who over the past year have staged a series of unprecedented protests against Dos Santos. Diogo Miguel Bernardo, 31, unemployed, who was turned away because he had registered in a different part of the country, said he would have voted Casa. "Casa is a party that can bring change to the country. We can't have a situation with the same person in power for one, two, three, 30 years." Preliminary results will be released from Saturday afternoon, the head of the National Electoral Commission said. Final results were only expected next week.

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