Africa Asia Europe North America South America Oceania
You are here: Home > Africa > Angola

Angola Politics

State and politics

Angola was a socialist one-party state from independence in 1975. Since 1991, the country has formally a multi-party system, but the continuing war put an end to the democratization process. Even after the end of the civil war in 2002, the previously only allowed party MPLA retained power. José Eduardo dos Santos, president from 1979–2017, is one of the African heads of state who held office for the longest time.

Political System of Angola

GOVERNMENT

The current constitution came into force in 2010 and replaced the previous one from 1992. The constitution was approved by a vote in Parliament; this was boycotted by UNITA, which is the only opposition party of any real importance.

The president's power is great and with the constitutional changes even greater. In addition to the Head of State and Government, the President is also Commander-in-Chief. In the past, the president appoints the highest court members and also the governors of the 18 provinces. The direct, general presidential elections were abolished by the new constitution. Instead, the person at the top of the list for the largest party in the parliamentary elections automatically becomes president. Since 2010, the president has only been allowed to sit for two terms in five years. The law began to apply from the 2012 election, which meant that José Eduardo dos Santos, president since 1979, could remain; he resigned in conjunction with the 2017 elections. Angola has since held three presidencies, all men.

Parliament has 220 directly elected members and three more elected by Angolans abroad. As of the 2012 election, the term of office is five years.

Policy

The first elections after the introduction of the multi-party system were held in 1992. MPLA became by far the largest party and the incumbent president, MPLA leader José Eduardo dos Santos, received 49.6 percent of the vote. The second round of the presidential election could not be held as the guerrilla movement UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi refused to approve the election result despite the approval of international observers. Savimbi resumed war actions and only after Savimbi's death in 2002 was a peace agreement concluded.

Then it was until 2008 before a new parliamentary election took place. In this, MPLA received 82 percent of the vote and 191 of 220 seats, while UNITA received 16 seats. The presidential election scheduled for 2009 has been postponed pending the new constitution. MPLA has been criticized for widespread corruption and for failing to respect human rights. However, the 2012 election was approved by international observers. MPLA's support decreased by 10 percentage points, but with 72 percent of the vote and 175 seats, the party's victory was still indisputable. UNITA increased from 10 percent to 19 percent of the vote. The MPLA's victory meant that dos Santos could remain as president.

Prior to the 2017 election, dos Santos announced that he would not run for another term. Instead, MPLA launched Defense Minister João Lourenço as the party's presidential candidate. Like 2012, UNITA went ahead at the expense of the ruling party, but MPLA still won a clear victory with 61 percent of the vote and 150 of the 220 electoral seats. Thus, Lourenço became the country's third president.

For more detailed accounts of the elections, see Annual Reports 2008 and 2012. See also History.

Judiciary

The country's highest court, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, is located in Luanda. The substantive right is based on the Portuguese legal heritage. The death penalty was abolished in Angola in 1992.

Human Rights

The excessive force of police and military force during the civil war has diminished since the end of the war. It still appears that peaceful protests are being met with police violence, arbitrary arrests and threats against participants and journalists. Corruption is widespread and extensive.

Although freedom of the press is guaranteed in the constitution, freedom of expression is severely limited. There is a lack of independent media and self-censorship is common. Freelance journalists run the risk of being brought to trial. In the state media, popular protests against the government are often rewritten as a threat to peace. In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2015, Angola is ranked 123 out of 180.

Large groups of Angolans live in informal settlements, and forced evictions occur. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how AO can stand for Angola.

Domestic violence is widespread, but there are trends that indicate a growing awareness of the problem. Abortion is permitted only when the life of the woman or the natural development of the fetus is in danger. Child labor occurs and reports of child prostitution are available. Trafficking in children and women, where Angola is both a country of origin and a destination country, is a problem that has received increased attention.

Heads of State

Presidents

1975-79 Agostinho Neto
1979-2017 José Eduardo dos Santos
2017- João Lourenço
Other Countries in Africa

Politics eZine Copyright 1999 - 2020 All Rights Reserved