Politics of Angola

Angola changed from a one-party Marxist-Leninist system ruled by the MPLA to a formal multiparty democracy following the 1992 elections. President dos Santos won the first round election with more than 49% of the vote to Jonas Savimbi's 40%. A runoff never has taken place. The subsequent renewal of civil war and collapse of the Lusaka Protocol have left much of this process stillborn, but democratic forms exist, notably the National Assembly.

Currently, political power is concentrated in the Presidency. The executive branch of the government is composed of the President, the Prime Minister--a position vacant since 1999--and Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers, composed of all government ministers and vice ministers, meets regularly to discuss policy issues. Governors of the 18 provinces are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the president. The Constitutional Law of 1992 establishes the broad outlines of government structure and delineates the rights and duties of citizens. The legal system is based on Portuguese and customary law but is weak and fragmented. Courts operate in only 12 of more than 140 municipalities. A Supreme Court serves as the appellate tribunal; a Constitutional Court with powers of judicial review has never been constituted despite statutory authorization.

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 president has announced the government's intention to hold elections as soon as conditions permit, (they were expected to be held in late 2002 or 2003. These elections would be the first since 1992 and would serve to elect both a new president and a new National Assembly.

Government

Country name:

Data code: AO

Government type: republic, nominally a multiparty democracy with a strong presidential system

Capital: Luanda

Administrative divisions: 18 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

Independence: 11 November 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday: Independence Day, 11 November (1975)

Constitution: 11 November 1975; revised 7 January 1978, 11 August 1980, 6 March 1991, and 26 August 1992

Legal system: based on Portuguese civil law system and customary law; recently modified to accommodate political pluralism and increased use of free markets

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

  • chief of state: President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (since 21 September 1979)
  • head of government: Prime Minister Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos "Nando" (since 6 December 2002)
  • cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
  • elections: President DOS SANTOS originally elected (in 1979) without opposition under a one-party system and stood for reelection in Angola's first multiparty elections 28-29 September 1992, the last elections to be held (next to be held NA)
  • election results: DOS SANTOS received 49.6% of the total vote, making a run-off election necessary between him and second-place finisher Jonas SAVIMBI (40.1% of the vote); the run-off was not held and SAVIMBI's National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) repudiated the results of the first election; the civil war resumed

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (220 seats; members elected by proportional vote to serve four-year terms)
  • elections: last held 29-30 September 1992 (next to be held NA)
  • election results: percent of vote by party - MPLA 54%, UNITA 34%, others 12%; seats by party - MPLA 129, UNITA 70, PRS 6, FNLA 5, PLD 3, others 7

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Tribunal da Relacao, judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Democratic Party or PLD [Analia de Victoria PEREIRA]; National Front for the Liberation of Angola or FNLA [disputed leadership: Lucas NGONDA, Holden ROBERTO]; National Union for the Total Independence of Angola or UNITA [PAULO Lukamba "Gato"], largest opposition party engaged in years of armed resistance; Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola or MPLA [Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS] ruling party in power since 1975; Social Renewal Party or PRS [disputed leadership: Eduardo KUANGANA, Antonio MUACHICUNGO]

  • note: about a dozen minor parties participated in the 1992 elections but won few seats and have little influence in the National Assembly

Political pressure groups and leaders: Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda or FLEC [N'zita Henriques TIAGO; Antonio Bento BEMBE]
  • note: FLEC is waging a small-scale, highly factionalized, armed struggle for the independence of Cabinda Province

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, CEEAC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OAU, SADC, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and black with a centered yellow emblem consisting of a five-pointed star within half a cogwheel crossed by a machete (in the style of a hammer and sickle)

Reference

Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.

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