September 10, 2008 / 6:19 AM / 10 years ago

Angola's ruling MPLA wins parliamentary poll

Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos salutes the press on his arrival on the second day of the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon December 9, 2007. REUTERS/Hugo Correia

LUANDA (Reuters) - Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s ruling MPLA party scored a landslide parliamentary election victory on Wednesday with nearly 82 percent of the vote, provisional final results showed.

The outcome, accepted by the opposition, is widely expected to ensure the oil-rich African country emerges from its first election in 16 years without the turmoil that has marred other polls elsewhere on the continent in the past year.

The MPLA, which has been in power since independence from Portugal in 1975 and has embraced pro-business policies after abandoning Marxism in the early 1990s, crushed a divided and under-funded opposition nationally and in all 18 provinces.

UNITA, a former rebel group which is now the largest opposition party, won just over 10 percent, election officials told reporters. UNITA conceded defeat on Monday, dropping a bid to contest what it had described as a flawed poll.

Delays in opening polling stations and missing voter registration lists led to an unscheduled second day of voting.

International observers have expressed general satisfaction with the conduct of the poll on Friday and Saturday and said they hoped it would lead to the blossoming of a full democracy after a lengthy period of virtual one-party rule.

“We congratulate the people of Angola on their participation in this important step in strengthening their democracy,” an election observer mission from the U.S. embassy in Angola said in a statement on Tuesday.

The U.S. team said the poll was generally peaceful, but noted the MPLA

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