• Voting was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere around the country, although procedures were inconsistently applied, especially with regard to the voters’ lists, thus voiding some of the most important controls provided for in the law, and contravening international standards on election procedures. However, checking voter identity against the voter registration card, and marking voters’ fingers with indelible ink helped to protect against duplicate voting. The lack of control over the number of issued ballots as compared to the number of cast ballots caused difficulties during counting.
• Organizational problems affected the distribution of essential materials, especially in Luanda, causing a significant number of polling stations to open late, or not at all. To allow citizens the opportunity to vote, some affected polling stations in the capital were opened the following day, in accordance with the Election Law.
• Counting was conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner. Procedures were hampered in areas where the voters list had not been marked as polling station staff were unable to reconcile the number of ballots issued against the number of voters who had cast their ballot. However, there were only a few recorded complaints by political parties. The computerised tabulation of results at the central level is not open for monitoring by observers or party agents, although at the lower levels access has been mostly granted.
• The election campaign has been carried out in a calm and orderly manner, with only a few incidents which were addressed by the National Police in a timely and impartial manner. Freedoms of assembly and expression have been widely respected. However, the EU EOM observed imbalances which have served to benefit the ruling party, mainly with regard to access to state resources or active involvement of the provincial administration and traditional authorities in campaign activities.
• The National Election Commission (CNE) has endeavoured to ensure the fairness of the election process and to overcome difficulties in an impartial and practical fashion. However, this has led to flexible interpretations of the law and late decision-making, adding to confusion on Election Day. In addition, late and partial accreditation of observers has affected the transparency of the process.
• The legal framework in place for these elections provides a solid foundation for the conduct of genuine democratic elections in accordance with the Election Law and international standards on elections.
• Over 8.3 million citizens were registered on a highly inclusive voters list. However, many were not registered where they currently reside, and the voters list was distributed too late to be posted in most areas. Although various electronic means were used to inform people where to vote, these were insufficient and contributed to the problems experienced on Election Day. In addition, and contrary to the Election Law, Angolans living abroad were not registered to vote.
• The Constitutional Court led the candidate registration process in a competent and
impartial manner and in accordance with the Election Law.
• The state electronic media, including Televisão Pública de Angola (TPA) and Rádio
Nacional de Angola (RNA) abided by the Election Law, allocating equal free airtime (Tempo de Antena) on a daily basis to all electoral contestants, and contributed to encourage civic participation. However, TPA, RNA and state-owned Jornal de Angola provided coverage of the electoral campaign that was generally biased in favour of the ruling party. Unequal distribution of airtime and space to cover campaign activities, and the broadcasting of programs and news about Government inaugurations and development projects left opposition parties at a clear disadvantage vis-à-vis access to public media.
• In a positive step, six of the fourteen contesting parties included over 30% women
candidates in their lists. Gender representation was notably balanced amongst polling
• The 2008 legislative elections have been the first in Angola with the presence of domestic observers. This represents an important step for Angolan civil society participation in the consolidation of the democratic process. However, problems in accrediting some domestic observers in Luanda left a gap in observation in the most densely populated area of the country.
• The election process is still ongoing and the EU EOM will continue to follow the tabulation of results and the election complaints and appeals process, including UNITA’s request for the annulment of the elections in Luanda. The EU EOM calls on all political stakeholders to adhere to the existing legal framework and to maintain the peaceful and democratic attitude displayed thus far during the electoral process.
[Full Report Here]