President Jose Eduardo dos Santos was poised to extend his 33-year rule, as his party took a hefty lead on Saturday in this week's vote, despite frustrations among the poor at being left out of Angola's oil boom.
With more than half the ballots counted, his People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) took 74 percent of the vote from Friday's general elections.
The main opposition Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) was a distant second with nearly 18 percent, and the new Casa party in third with 4.5 percent, the National Electoral Commission said.
Angolans voted Friday for 220 members of parliament, with the leader of the winning party receiving a five-year term as president. More results are expected later Saturday.
Counting began shortly after polls closed Friday, and the process was proceeding faster than expected, although the final result was only expected next week.
Angolans waited anxiously for the results, with newspaper vendors mobbed as soon as Saturday's editions hit the streets.
Otherwise the normally vibrant capital Luanda was strangely quiet for a second day. Friday was declared a national holiday for the elections, and shops remained shuttered on Saturday while streets notorious for gridlock were mostly empty.
The MPLA, in power since independence from Portugal in 1975, took 81 percent of the vote in the last elections in 2008, the first ballot held after the 27-year civil war ended in 2002.
Dos Santos has already ruled Angola for 33 years, through the devastating civil war and then through an oil boom that over the last decade has transformed the country into one of the world's fastest growing economies.
While his family has built a business empire, he has also ploughed billions of dollars into rebuilding the nation with new roads, schools, bridges and dams rising up from the ruins.
Public health and incomes have improved, but just over half (55 percent) of the country still lives in abject poverty, often in shacks without electricity or running water.
Resentment among young Angolans, who enviously eye the luxurious new skyscrapers filling Luanda's skyline, has sparked protests demanding that Dos Santos step down and calling for the nation's oil wealth to be spread more evenly.
Protests in Angola are quickly and violently repressed, but they clearly rattled a government that never allows any show of dissent.
Unita accuses Dos Santos of using his power and money to strengthen his control over the state, and has campaigned promising a better democracy.
Party leader Isaias Samakuva has lambasted the organisation of the elections, citing worries about accreditation of observers and the failure to make a public audit of the 9.7 million names on the voter roll.
With only 10 percent of votes in the last poll, Unita needs a strong showing to prove it remains relevant, particularly after a bruising split that saw a top party official form the new Casa party with a high-profile defector from the MPLA.
Casa has made in-roads among young voters with promises of better jobs and homes, but it is unclear of the party's reach since its creation in April.
"The MPLA will be the winner of the elections, but it is going to have to address the dissenters over the next five years," said Bango Serra, of the Angolan civic group Justice, Peace and Democracy.
"This dissent will first centre on the results, because of doubts about the organisation of the polls, then on the party's social policies," he said.
Former Cape Verde president Pedro Verona Pires, chief of the African Union's observer team, described the poll's organisation as "satisfactory" and said that initial reports showed voting had proceeded well.
In 2008, chaos at the polls forced the government to allow a second day of voting. Friday's balloting appeared to have gone smoothly, and police in Luanda said no incidents had been reported.