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Campaigning ends as Angola votes to replace dos Santos after 38 years

Electioneering campaigns in Angola ended on Monday (August 21) two clear days to the opening of polls. Parties have been touring the length and breadth of the country since campaigning was opened on July 23, 2017.

The ruling MPLA party held its final rally on Saturday with its presidential candidate Joao Lourenco – a former Defense Minister – selling the message of continuity. According to him, the MPLA is the only entity that could guarantee stability in the country.

Another opposition partly CASA-CE – seen as the third force also held its rally on the same day. The main opposition UNITA rounded up their campaign on Monday with a rally held outside of the capital, Luanda.

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UNITA is currently led by Isais Samakuva, the 71-year-old has been its leader since 2003 and has participated in the last two elections – in 2008 and 2012. UNITA, a former rebel group transformed into a party, have said they would be willing to form a coalition government with other opposition parties if the MPLA lost power.

The election is significant in the sense that it will see Angola’s long time ruler Jose Eduardo dos Santos step down after thirty eight years in power. Even though he will not be on the ballot, dos Santos maintains his position as leader of the ruling party.

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The MPLA has since the return to multi-party democracy in 1992, won all three previous elections with a comfortable parliamentary majority. The party that wins the majority has its leader automatically being named president.

Beside MPLAUNITA and CASA-CE (which is a breakaway faction of UNITA), there are three other parties in the race to succeed dos Santos. The FNLA and PRS all have representations in parliament. The only ‘outsider’ being the APN – a party born only 18 months ago.

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The breakdown of their respective seats is as follows:

  • MPLA (175 seats) led by Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco

  • UNITA (32 seats) led by Isias Henrique Ngola Samakuva

  • CASA-CE (8 seats) led by Abel Epalanga Chivukuvuku

  • PRS (3 seats) led by Benedito Daniel

  • FNLA (2 seats) led by Lucas Benghim Gonda

  • APN (0 seats) led by Quintino Antonio Moreira

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