Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections, September 29-30 1992, Report of the IFES Observation Mission

Publication Date: 
30 Sep 1992

Publication Type:

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) was invited by Angola's National Electoral
Council to organize an international delegation of election observers for Angola's September 29-30, 1992
legislative and presidential elections. The 39 members of the mission were selected to represent a cross-section
of international Angola-watchers and elections specialists. The observation mission was under
the leadership of Professor C.S. Whitaker, Director of the Center for Multiethnic and Transnational
Studies at the University of Southern California.

The delegation assembled in Luanda, Angola over September 23-24 for three days of national and
provincial briefings, deploying into the provinces on September 27. The terms of reference of the
delegation were focused on the events immediately before, during, and immediately following the two
days of elections. Its objective was to monitor the degree to which activities taking place during this
period corresponded with the Angolan electoral code. Delegation members departed Luanda between
October 3rd and 8th. IFES staff maintained a presence in Luanda through the official announcement of
the election results on the morning of October 17. The IFES office in Luanda remained open, under
the direction of the project manager, through the fourth week of October.

The mission was organized by IFES staff in Washington and Luanda. The IFES project manager
responsible for the implementation of IFES' technical assistance effort in Angola was joined by two
consultants, one responsible for finalizing civic education activities initiated by the project manager and
the second responsible for the on-the-ground organization and overall coordination of the observation
mission. IFES/Washington Africa program staff were on hand in Luanda before, during, and after the
observation activities. For the duration of the mission, IFES permanent and temporary staff in
Washington provided logistical and technical back-up.

The observers visited over 400 of Angola's 5,579 polling stations. These polling places were located
in the eight most populous and accessible of Angola's eighteen provinces: Bengo, Benguela, Bie, Kuanza
Norte, Kuanza Sui, Huambo, Huna, and Luanda. These eight provinces are home to 69% of Angola's
registered voters and 67% of Angola's estimated population of 8,989,800.

Polls where potentially serious irregularities were noted received follow-up visits. The IFES teams'
observations repeatedly called attention to the open cooperation between the representatives of the
various political party poll watchers assigned to the polls as well as between the poll workers, to
implement on-site improvisations and overcome operational problems.

The elections were conducted in a peaceful and orderly fashion. Bearing in mind the limits of their
terms of reference, and also the limited duration of the observation mission, the consensus of the IFES. international delegation of election observers was that the Angolan elections of September 29-30, 1992
constituted a successful and effective application of the mechanism of elective choice of political

Six months after the elections, each passing day without a negotiated cease-fire diminishes the probability
of a second round of elections. The recommendations put forth by the IFES delegation for Angola's
future elections are applicable only when conditions are fulfilled that do not exist in Angola at present,

1) That a solution has been found for the Angolan conflict, resulting in the establishment of a
2) That the cease-fire is holding;
3) That the infrastructure for the demobilization of the armed forces has been established and the
demobilization is underway;
4) That there is agreement between political parties on an administrative body responsible for
organizing and facilitating the elections;

The IFES group was one of several international delegations, totaling approximately 800 individuals,
present in Angola for the elections. The United Nations was responsible for the deployment of 400 of
these observers and for the conduct of a parallel vote tabulation. Additional delegations included those
of Portugal, Belgium, France, Germany, Programme Angola-Canada, and the European Parliamentarians
for Southern Africa (AWEPAA). Angola's predominant political parties, Movimellfo Popular de
Libenacao de Angola, and the Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola, sponsored groups
of international observers.