Angola sets next general election date-August 31, 2012

Angola sets next general election date

 

AFP

Angola has set August 31 as the date for elections likely to return President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his ruling MPLA to power.

But opposition parties claim voting cannot be free and fair.
 
“The Council of the Republic has pronounced in favour of August 31 2012 as the date of general elections,” the consultative body in the president’s office said in a statement.
 
The polls are almost certain to re-elect Dos Santos, whose 33 years in power make him Africa’s second-longest ruling leader after Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
 
President elections were abolished under a new constitution in 2000 and the leader of the winning party automatically becomes president.
 
Opposition parties last week won a rare victory in the tightly-controlled country when the Supreme Court reversed the appointment of the head of elections, Suzana Ingles, seen as too close to Dos Santos.
 
But the main opposition Unita says the country lacks credible voters lists that would ensure free and fair polling.
 
“Angola has never held a credible election with transparent voters registers in a context of equality between contestants,” to ensure free and fair elections, Unita party chairman Isaias Samakuva said on Tuesday.
 
“It is this line that Angola must cross this year,” said Samakuva, who is heading the former rebel group that battled the government in the civil war.
 
Preparations
But the state council insisted on Wednesday in its statement that “the necessary conditions have been prepared” for the polls, based on the information on voter registers available to the electoral commission.
 
The polls will be only the third in Angola, whose journey from independence from Portugal in 1975 to the continent’s second-biggest oil producer was interrupted by years of civil war which ended only in 2002.
 
The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won the last election in 2008 with over 81% of the vote and has used its commanding parliamentary majority to pass a raft of new laws including a new constitution which critics say concentrates power in Dos Santos’s hands.
 
The announcement of the election date came a day after the appointment of an interim head of elections to replace Ingles.
 
But a judicial watchdog Justice, the Peace and Democracy Association (AJPD) accused Luanda of manipulating the courts to sack the elections chief as a public relations exercise to spruce up its image ahead of the vote.
 
It called for the participation of all political players “in the electoral process, in a spirit of tolerance and trust, so that the elections take place with transparency and security”.

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Jose Eduardo dos Santos

 
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Angola is Africa’s second-largest oil producer. (UPI Photo/Stephen Shaver) 
Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, is locked in a power struggle over who’ll succeed longtime strongman Jose Eduardo dos Santos amid signs offshore exploration will open up giant fields like those found by Brazil across the Atlantic.

 

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, while under the Portuguese colonial government, went into exile in neighboring Congo-Brazzaville in 1961. He continued his education in the Soviet Union and in 1969 received degrees in petroleum engineering and in radar communications from the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute in Baku, Azerbaijan.

After the death of Angola’s first president, Agostinho Neto, on September 10, 1979, José Eduardo dos Santos was elected as President of the MPLA on September 20, 1979, and he took office as President of Angola, President of the MPLA, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on September 21. He was also elected as President of the People’s Assembly on November 9, 1980.

 ________________________________

August 24, 2001 (IRIN) – Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos announced that he would not stand as a candidate in the next presidential election. Addressing the central committee of the ruling MPLA party in Luanda, Dos Santos said the party should prepare to find a candidate for the next electoral contest, which he said could take place in 2002 or 2003. “It is clear that the name of that candidate will not be Jose Eduardo dos Santos,” he said.

Dos Santos is among Africa’s longest-serving leaders, having assumed the presidency on the death of Agostinho Neto, Angola’s founding president, in 1979. He said that were it not for the crisis caused by the 26-year civil war, he would have tendered his resignation a long time ago.

Angola’s first and only multi-party elections took place in 1992. UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi took up arms again after losing the parliamentary vote, and coming second to Dos Santos in the first round of presidential voting. The run-off between Dos Santos and Savimbi never happened, and the state of war since then has prevented any further election.

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December 17, 2003 (IRIN) – Long-standing president Jose Eduardo dos Santos is once again firmly established at the helm of Angola’s ruling MPLA after he was elected without opposition to the party’s presidency.

The congress voted in Dos Santos by acclamation, paving the way for him to run again in national elections he has said will not be held before 2005.

“Dos Santos is very firmly in the saddle,” said Herman van der Linde, consultant at South Africa-based Executive Research Associates. “Ten to one, he’ll run – I think that’s a given at this stage.”

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Angola

Population: 18,056,072 (July 2012 est.)
Angola is Africa’s 2nd-largest oil producer after Nigeria.

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One Comment on “Angola sets next general election date-August 31, 2012”

  1. Kaumba Says:

    The MPLA is maxist socialist government, how it be a democratic when its leaders are in their heads there is only communism. They are local graduates from Russia and Cuba. The people that brought democracy are the ones to rule.

    Reply

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