João Lourenço

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João Lourenço
2018-07-04 President João Lourenço-0555.jpg
3rd President of Angola
Assumed office
26 September 2017
Vice President Bornito de Sousa
Preceded by José Eduardo dos Santos
Minister of National Defense
In office
22 April 2014 – 26 September 2017
President José Eduardo dos Santos
Preceded by Cândido Pereira dos Santos
Van-Dúnem
Succeeded by Salviano de Jesus Sequeira
Personal details
Born (1954-03-05) 5 March 1954 (age 64)
Lobito, Angola
Political party MPLA (2014–present)
Spouse(s) Ana Afonso Dias
Children 6
Alma mater Industrial Institute of Luanda
Lenin Superior Academy
Nickname(s) JLo[1]

João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço (born 5 March 1954) is an Angolan politician who has served as the President of Angola since 26 September 2017.[2] Previously, he was Minister of Defence from 2014 to 2017. In September 2018 he became the Chairman of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the ruling party. He was the party's Secretary-General from 1998 to 2003.

João Lourenço was designated in December 2016 to occupy the party's number 1 position in the August 2017 legislative election. In terms of the 2010 constitution, "the individual heading the national list of the political party or coalition of political parties which receives the most votes in general elections... shall be elected President of the Republic and Head of the Executive" (Article 109).[3][4] As the MPLA won a majority of 150 seats, Lourenço automatically became President of Angola, succeeding José Eduardo dos Santos, in power for 38 years. Lourenço was officially sworn into office on 26 September 2017.[5]

Early life[edit]

Born in 1954, Lourenço grew up in a politically engaged family of ten children. His father, Sequeira João Lourenço (1923–1999),[6] a native of Malanje, was a nurse and nationalist, who served three years of imprisonment in Portuguese Angola for illegal political activity.[7] His mother, Josefa Gonçalves Cipriano Lourenço (1928–1998),[8] a seamstress, was a native of Namibe.[9] He received primary and secondary education in Bié Province and Luanda.[10]

Education and military career[edit]

Lourenço studied at the Industrial Institute of Luanda and later participated in the liberation struggle in Ponta Negra, in August 1974, where he was part of the first group of MPLA soldiers to enter Angolan territory via Miconge, towards the city of Cabinda after the fall of the Portuguese colonial regime.[11]

He began his military career fighting against the Portuguese in the Angolan War of Independence and fought as a member of the MPLA in the Angolan Civil War.[12] Lourenço conducted his training in artillery and then became a political officer in the MPLA. In 1978, Lourenço traveled to the Soviet Union and studied at the Lenin Higher Academy, where he furthered his military training and completed a master's degree in Historical Sciences.[11] He later returned to Angola in 1982. Now an artillery general, Lourenço turned towards politics and in 1984 was appointed as Governor of Moxico Province.[13]

Political career[edit]

Lourenço's early politics were mainly confined within the MPLA as an officer responsible for keeping guerrilla soldiers' morale high. Following his appointment as Governor of Moxico Province in 1984, he continued to rise through the ranks of the ruling party.[12][14] He also served as the provincial commissioner of Moxico Province for the MPLA, president of the Regional Military Council of the 3rd Military Political Region, First Secretary of MPLA and Provincial Commissioner of Benguela Province.[11] He was the MPLA's Secretary for Information from 1992 to 1997 and President of the MPLA Parliamentary Group in the National Assembly from 1993 to 1998.[15]

At a party congress, he was elected as Secretary-General of the MPLA on 12 December 1998. His election was said to be linked to the favour of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and it was thought that Lourenço could potentially succeed the long-ruling dos Santos at some point.[16] However, after dos Santos said in 2001 that he would not seek re-election as president,[17] Lourenço openly expressed an interest in becoming the MPLA's presidential candidate and thereby damaged his standing with dos Santos, who apparently had no real intention of leaving office, but had sought to expose political rivals.[12][18][19] Juilão Mateus Paulo succeeded him as MPLA Secretary-General at a December 2003 party congress.[18]

Lourenço was First Vice-President of the National Assembly from 2003 to 2014.[15] He was appointed as Minister of Defense in April 2014,[20] and he was designated as Vice-President of the MPLA in August 2016.[21] In September 2018 he became the Chairman of the MPLA, replacing José Eduardo dos Santos.[22]

In December 2016 the MPLA designated Lourenço as the party's top candidate in the 2017 legislative election.[23]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Ana Afonso Dias Lourenço, a Member of Parliament of the MPLA and former Minister of Planning, who held a position at the World Bank in Washington D.C. until October 2016. They have six children, all of which are currently active in the MPLA.[19] Apart from his native language, he speaks Russian, Spanish, and English.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Joao Lourenco: Can 'Angola's JLo' fill Dos Santos' shoes?". BBC News. Retrieved 25 August 2017. 
  2. ^ Eisenhammer, Stephen (September 26, 2017). "Angola's first new president in 38 years vows to fight graft". Reuters. Retrieved 27 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Angola's Constitution of 2010" (PDF). Oxford Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press). 6 Jun 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017. 
  4. ^ "Constituição da Républica de Angola" (PDF) (in Portuguese). World Intellectual Property Organisation. Retrieved 27 September 2017. 
  5. ^ http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/angola-swears-in-lourenco-first-new-president-for-38-years-20170926
  6. ^ "Sequeira João Lourenço, 1923 - 1999". My Heritage. 
  7. ^ "Angola : qui est Joao Lourenço, l'ancien général désigné comme successeur de Dos Santos ?" (in French). Jeune Afrique. 4 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Josefa Gonçalves Cipriano Lourenço (born Cipriano), 1928 - 1998". My Heritage. 
  9. ^ "Huíla: João Lourenço entre en pré-campagne" (in French). Agência Angola Press. 18 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "JOÃO LOURENÇO COMANDA CAMPANHA DO "M"" (in Portuguese). OPAÍS. 10 February 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c Steven Mufson (18 February 2017). "Quem é João Lourenço, o homem que irá suceder a José Eduardo dos Santos?" (in Portuguese). OBS. 
  12. ^ a b c "Lourenco: Ex-general poised to be Angola's next leader", Agence France-Presse, 3 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Angola's new 'president in waiting'". Deutsche Welle. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017. 
  14. ^ Steven Mufson (21 May 2017). "After 37 years, Angola will get a new president. Can Joao Lourenco reduce widespread corruption?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 July 2017. 
  15. ^ a b Kumuênho da Rosa and João Dias, "João Lourenço é o candidato escolhido pelo MPLA", Jornal de Angola, 4 February 2017 (in Portuguese).
  16. ^ "MPLA chooses new Secretary General", Angola Peace Monitor, 28 December 1998.
  17. ^ "Dos Santos to bow out", IRIN, 24 August 2001.
  18. ^ a b "Dos Santos at the helm", IRIN, 17 December 2003.
  19. ^ a b (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Who is Angola's new president Joao Lourenco? | Africa | DW | 26.09.2017". DW.COM. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  20. ^ "Angola: Presidente nomeia João Lourenço para ministro da Defesa Nacional" (in Portuguese). Agência Angola Press. 22 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "Nova liderança no MPLA, João Lourenço é o novo vice-presidente", Voice of America, 23 August 2016 (in Portuguese).
  22. ^ "Ex-Angola president dos Santos quits last political post". Africanews. Retrieved 2018-09-08. 
  23. ^ Herculano Coroado, "Angola's Dos Santos not up for re-election in 2017 - party document", Reuters, 3 December 2016.
  24. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-africa-38856597
Political offices
Preceded by
José Eduardo dos Santos
President of Angola
2017–present
Incumbent