Angola rejects EU poll observers terms

Angolan Foreign Affairs minister Georges Chikoti. ARNALDO VIEIRA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The Angolan government has rejected the European Union (EU) conditions for observing the August 23 General Election, state media reported.

The state-owned Jornal de Angola said Luanda would not sign a poll monitoring memorandum of understanding with EU.

“The invite is opened. But we don’t want any specific accords with each organisation.

"Let whoever wants to come, come and those who don’t want to stay away," Jornal de Angola quoted Foreign Affairs minister Georges Chikoti as saying.

Among others, EU wanted its members allowed unrestricted access to all polling stations.

No obligations

Mr Chikoti was quoted saying Angola only had specific poll observation accords with the African Union and the regional bloc, the Southern African Development Countries (SADC).

“Apart from the two, we have no obligations with others,” he said.

At least 3,000 observers are expected to monitor the landmark polls.

The observers will be drawn from the national and the international community according to the Angolan National Electoral Commission head.

President’s list

President José Eduardo dos Santos on July 1 invited several international organisations to observe the General Election.

The president’s list includes AU, EU, SADC, the Portuguese speaking countries bloc (CPLP) and the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC).

The SADC observers are expected to arrive in Angola two weeks before elections, while the AU group will arrive one week to the polls.

An EU legislator, Ms Ana Gomes, last week accused the Angolan authorities of showing no interest in their role in the polls.

Not explicit

According to the EU MP, the Angolan government's invite was only received on July 4, which was too late for the requisite preparations.

“The invite was not explicit as far as the EU conditions for polls observation missions in guaranteeing accesses to all entities and places,” Ms Gomes told DW Radio in an interview.

The August 23 elections will be Angola's fourth since the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975, and the third since the end of the war in 2002.

MPLA won elections in 1992, 2008 and 2012 with a parliamentary majority.

In power

There were no international observers in the 2012 polls, and none of foreign embassies in Luanda secured accreditation to monitor the elections.

The August poll will see the long-serving President dos Santos retire.

The Angolan leader has been in power since 1979 and is Africa's second longest serving president after Obiang' Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.

Some 9,317,294 voters have been registered to cast their ballots at 12,152 polling stations.

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