Angola opposition leader quits following poll defeat

The leader of Angola’s main opposition party UNITA said Wednesday he would quit following defeat in last month’s election, which he alleges was rigged in the ruling party’s favour.

Isaias Samakuva, 71, took over UNITA after longtime rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed in 2002, a death that marked the beginning of the end of Angola’s bloody 27-year civil war.

“I told Angolans before and during the election campaign that after the vote I would give up the role as president of UNITA, and I confirm this decision,” Samakuva told reporters.

The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) secured 26 percent of the vote in the August elections, coming a distant second to the ruling MPLA party.

The election saw the end of president Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s 38-year reign after he chose not to stand for office again.

His hand-picked successor Joao Lourenco was sworn in as president on Tuesday.

Opposition parties boycotted the ceremony in Luanda to protest what they allege was a stolen election.

The MPLA, which won 61 percent of the August vote, has ruled since 1975, and is often accused of suppressing dissent and opposition activity.

Samakuva said that UNITA would hold a special congress to choose a new leader.

 

AFP

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