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In Angola, Ruling Party Support Seen as Desire for Peace and Security

Interviewee: Jamie Ekern, Assistant Director, Center for Preventive Action
Interviewer: Stephanie Hanson
September 9, 2008

Angola held its first election in sixteen years on September 5. The country is flush with oil money, but most of its citizens remain impoverished. Jamie Ekern, assistant director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, traveled to the Angolan capital of Luanda to observe the elections. During the polls, she was in the Kazenga neighborhood, an area with high crime and poverty levels. Speaking from Luanda, Ekern said that people there turned out in large numbers to vote but voting materials were not available at many stations. When materials still hadn't arrived by late afternoon, the election commission decided to extend voting into Saturday, September 6.

Ekern also noted:

  • While election results were not immediately available, state-run television stations estimated the ruling MPLA party won 80 percent of the vote.
  • Support for the MPLA seems to stem from a widespread desire for "peace and security." Ekern also says it is difficult to compete with the MPLA's manpower, funding, and advertising.
  • Regarding China's strong trade relationship with Angola, Angolans in Luanda seem to view the relationship as positive. They recognize that because Angola lacks human and institutional capacity, they need Chinese labor to help them rebuild their country.


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