Politics of Angola

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Since the adoption of a new constitution in 2010, the politics of Angola takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Angola is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the President, the government and parliament.

Angola changed from a one-party Marxist-Leninist system ruled by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), in place since independence in 1975, to a multiparty democracy based on a new constitution adopted in 1992. That same year the first parliamentary and presidential elections were held. The MPLA won an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections. In the presidential elections, President José Eduardo dos Santos won the first round election with more than 49% of the vote to Jonas Savimbi's 40%. A runoff election would have been necessary, but never took place. The renewal of civil war immediately after the elections, which were considered as fraudulent by UNITA, and the collapse of the Lusaka Protocol, created a split situation. To a certain degree the new democratic institutions worked, notably the National Assembly, with the active participation of UNITA's and the FNLA's elected MPs - while José Eduardo dos Santos continued to exercise his functions without democratic legitimation. However the armed forces of the MPLA (now the official armed forces of the Angolan state) and of UNITA fought each other until the leader of UNITA, Jonas Savimbi, was killed in action in 2002.[1]

From 2002 to 2010, the system as defined by the constitution of 1992 functioned in a relatively normal way. The executive branch of the government was composed of the President, the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers, composed of all ministers and vice ministers, met regularly to discuss policy issues. Governors of the 18 provinces were appointed by and served at the pleasure of the president. The Constitutional Law of 1992 established the broad outlines of government structure and the rights and duties of citizens. The legal system was based on Portuguese and customary law but was weak and fragmented. Courts operated in only 12 of more than 140 municipalities. A Supreme Court served as the appellate tribunal; a Constitutional Court with powers of judicial review was never constituted despite statutory authorization. In practice, power was more and more concentrated in the hands of the President who, supported by an ever increasing staff, largely controlled parliament, government, and the judiciary.[2]

The 26-year long civil war has ravaged the country's political and social institutions. The UN estimates of 1.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), while generally the accepted figure for war-affected people is 4 million. Daily conditions of life throughout the country and specifically Luanda (population approximately 4 million) mirror the collapse of administrative infrastructure as well as many social institutions. The ongoing grave economic situation largely prevents any government support for social institutions. Hospitals are without medicines or basic equipment, schools are without books, and public employees often lack the basic supplies for their day-to-day work.

The 2010 constitution grants the President almost absolute power. Elections for the National assembly are to take place every five years, and the President is automatically the leader of the winning party or coalition. It is for the President to appoint (and dismiss) all of the following:

  • The members of the government (state ministers, ministers, state secretaries and vice-ministers);
  • The members of the Constitutional Court;
  • The members of the Supreme Court;
  • The members of the Court of Auditors;
  • The members of the Military Supreme Court;
  • The Governor and Vice-Governors of the Nacional Angolan Bank;
  • The General-Attorney, the Vice-General-Attorneys and their deputies (as well as the military homologous);
  • The Governors of the provinces;
  • The members of the Republic Council;
  • The members of the National Security Council;
  • The members of the Superior Magistrates Councils;
  • The General Chief of the Armed Forces and his deputy;
  • All other command posts in the military;
  • The Police General Commander, and the 2nd in command;
  • All other command posts in the police;
  • The chiefs and directors of the intelligence and security organs.

The President is also provided a variety of powers, like defining the policy of the country. Even though it's not up to him/her to make laws (only to promulgate them and make edicts), the President is the leader of the winning party. The only "relevant" post that is not directly appointed by the President is the Vice-President, which is the second in the winning party.[3]

Executive branch[edit]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since

Legislative branch[edit]

The National Assembly (Assembleia Nacional) has 223 members, elected for a four year term, 130 members by proportional representation, 90 members in provincial districts, and 3 members to represent Angolans abroad. The next general elections, due for 1997, have been rescheduled for 5 September 2008. The ruling party MPLA won 82% (191 seats in the National Assembly) and the main opposition party won only 10% (16 seats). The elections however have been described as only partly free but certainly not fair.[4] A White Book on the elections in 2008 lists up all irregularities surrounding the Parliamentary elections of 2008.[5]

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in Angola. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Angola.

Parliamentary elections were held in September 2008. These elections were the first since 1992. Presidential elections are planned for 2009.

e • d 5 September and 6 September 2008 National Assembly of Angola election results
Party Votes % Seats +/-
Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola 4,414,738 81.64 191 +62
National Union for the Total Independence of Angola 559,972 10.39 16 –54
Social Renewal Party 172,298 3.17 8 +2
New Democracy Electoral Union 64,624 1.20 2 New
National Front for the Liberation of Angola 60,335 1.11 3 –2
Democratic Party for Progress – Angolan National Alliance 27,552 0.51 0 –1
Liberal Democratic Party 17,880 0.33 0 –3
Democratic Angola – Coalition 15,839 0.29 0 –1
Party for Democratic Support and Progress of Angola 14,115 0.27 0 New
Front for Democracy 14,037 0.27 0 New
Party of the Alliance of Youth, Workers and Farmers of Angola 12,681 0.24 0 –1
Democratic Renewal Party 11,599 0.22 0 –1
Electoral Political Platform 9,840 0.19 0 New
Angolan Fraternal Forum Coalition 9,468 0.17 0 New
Invalid votes 762,874
Total 7,213,281 100 220 0
Registered voters/turnout 8,256,584 87.36
Sources: CNE, CNE, BBC
e • d Summary of the 29 and 30 September 1992 Angola presidential election results
Candidate Party Votes %
José Eduardo dos Santos MPLA 1,953,335 49.57
Jonas Savimbi UNITA 1,579,298 40.07
António Alberto Neto Angolan Democratic Party 85,249 2.16
Holden Roberto National Front for the Liberation of Angola 83,135 2.11
Honorato Lando Liberal Democratic Party of Angola 75.789 1.92
Luís dos Passos Democratic Renewal Party 58,121 1.47
Bengui Pedro João Social Democratic Party 38,243 0.97
Simão Cacete Front for Democracy 26,385 0.67
Daniel Chipenda Independent 20,845 0.52
Anália de Victória Pereira Liberal Democratic Party 11,475 0.29
Rui Pereira Social Renewal Party 9,208 0.23
Invalid/blank votes 460,455
Total 4,401,339 100
Source: Nohlen et al
e • d 29 and 30 September 1992 National Assembly of Angola election results
Party Votes % Seats
Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola) 2,124,126 53.74 129
National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) 1,347,636 34.10 70
National Front for the Liberation of Angola (Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola) 94,742 2.40 5
Liberal Democratic Party (Partido Liberal Democrático) 94,269 2.39 3
Social Renewal Party (Partido Renovador Social) 89,875 2.27 6
Democratic Renewal Party (Partido Renovador Democrático) 35,293 0.89 1
AD-Coalition (AD-Coligação) 34,166 0.86 1
Social Democratic Party (Partido Social-Democrata) 33,088 0.84 1
Party of the Alliance of Youth, Workers and Farmers of Angola (Partido da Aliança da Juventude, Operários e Campesinos de Angola) 13,924 0.35 1
Angolan Democratic Forum (Fórum Democrático Angolano) 12,038 0.30 1
Democratic Progress Party/Angolan National Alliance Party (Partido Democrático para Progreso/Aliança Nacional Angolano) 10,608 0.27 1
Angolan National Democratic Party (Partido Nacional Democrático Angolano) 10,281 0.26 1
National Democratic Convention of Angola (Convenção Nacional Democrática de Angola) 10,237 0.26
Social Democratic Party of Angola (Partido Social Democratico de Angola) 10,217 0.26
Independent Angolan Party (Partido Angolano Independente) 9,007 0.23
Liberal Democratic Party of Angola (Partido Democrático Liberal de Angola) 8,025 0.20
Democratic Party of Angola (Partido Democrático de Angola) 8,014 0.20
Angolan Renewal Party (Partido Renovador Angolano) 6,719 0.17
Invalid/blank votes 458,310
Total 4,410,575 100 220
Source: Nohlen et al

Judicial branch[edit]

Supreme Court (or "Tribunal da Relacao") judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Angola has eighteen provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Bengo, Benguela, Bie, Cabinda, Cuando Cubango, Cuanza Norte, Cuanza Sul, Cunene, Huambo, Huila, Luanda, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Malanje, Moxico, Namibe, Uige, Zaire

Political pressure groups and leaders[edit]

Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda or FLEC (Henrique N'zita Tiago; António Bento Bembe)

  • note: FLEC is waging a small-scale, highly factionalized, armed struggle for the independence of Cabinda Province

International organization participation[edit]

African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, AfDB, CEEAC, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, FAO, Group of 77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, International Criminal Court (signatory), ICFTU, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, International Development Association, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund, International Maritime Organization, Interpol, IOC, International Organization for Migration, ISO (correspondent), ITU, Non-Aligned Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, World Customs Organization, World Federation of Trade Unions, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]