Africa: Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos says he will not run for re-election after 38 years
Angola had been the largest oil producer in Africa. OPEC figures show that Nigeria is regaining its status as Africa’s top oil producer.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Africa’s second-longest serving leader, has confirmed he will not run in this year’s presidential election, calling an end to 38 years as head of state, but he will retain control of the powerful ruling party.
Dos Santos, aged 74, said in March last year he would not run in elections due in August 2017, but opponents remained suspicious given he had reneged on similar pledges during in the past.
The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) approved 62-year-old Defence Minister Joao Lourenco as its presidential candidate at a meeting on December 2, dos Santos said in a televised speech on Friday.
Dos Santos will remain president of the MPLA, retaining sweeping powers that include choosing parliamentary candidates and appointing top posts in the army and police.
Dos Santos has held tight control of Angola, where he has overseen an oil-backed economic boom and the reconstruction of infrastructure devastated by a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.
Dos Santos dynasty
Despite its oil wealth, most of Angola’s 22 million people live in poverty.
The country is in sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest economy but a collapse in oil prices has triggered a full-scale national economic crisis since 2013.
Critics accuse dos Santos of mismanaging Angola’s oil wealth and making an elite, mainly his family and political allies, vastly rich.
His daughter, Isabel dos Santos was appointed last year as head of the state oil company, Sonangol, while his son, Jose Filomeno, is chairman of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.
Lourenco, a former soldier and deputy president of the MPLA, is also a veteran of the independence struggle, Lourenco studied history in the former Soviet Union (USSR) from 1978 to 1982 before starting a long career in politics.
Video: President Dos Santos will not run in 2017 for re-election
Population: 25.8 million
Languages: Portuguese 71.2% (official -colonial)
Native African Languages:
Other (including Africans and Asians) 22%
Mestico/Mulato (mixed European and native African) 2%