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  • Joao Lourenco, presidential candidate for the ruling MPLA party, waits to cast his vote in Luanda, Angola, Aug. 23, 2017.

    Joao Lourenco, presidential candidate for the ruling MPLA party, waits to cast his vote in Luanda, Angola, Aug. 23, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Angola's electoral commission said the vote went smoothly. "It's an example of how democratic elections should be carried out in any part of the world," its head said.

Polls have closed in Angola's parliamentary elections that will also select a new leader since long-time leader of Angola's independence movement, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is stepping down after 38 years.

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About 9.3 million Angolans are registered to vote for the 220-member National Assembly. The winning party will then select the person to become the next president.

Defense Minister Joao Lourenco, the presidential candidate of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola party, is widely expected to win the vote in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.

"I've been following the party (MPLA) all my life. I grew up with it," 33-year-old bakery owner Telma Francisco told Reuters outside a polling station in the capital.

"The other parties don't have the capacity to govern," she added.

An unofficial result is expected by Friday, but there may be no formal announcement for two weeks as ballot boxes to be transported along harsh roads may slow down the count.

The two main opposition parties, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola and Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola Electoral Coalition seek to make gains.

Angola's electoral commission said the vote went smoothly. "It's an example of how democratic elections should be carried out in any part of the world," its head, Andre da Silva Neto, told reporters.

Analysts and voters view the election as an important post-war era poll for the nation, who gained its independence after a hard-fought war against Portugal in 1974, followed by a Western-backed civil war.

"It's important because it's the first time that Angolans are going to an election with the main actors from the civil war era outside of the electoral game," Professor Riuk Andove of the Independent University of Angola, said.

"I'm going to vote for the first time," said ruling party supporter Daniel Cailane, 21. "I'm excited to give this contribution to my country."


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