12 February 2012

Angola: Long-Serving President Seeks New Term

Photo: Marco Castro/UN Photo
José Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola, addresses the High-Level meeting on Climate Change (file photo).

Luanda — Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos will seek a new term with former state oil company head Manuel Vicente as his vice- president in the September polls, a source in the ruling MPLA said.

This announcement follows Friday's meeting of the ruling party's Central Committee Fourth Ordinary Session, which was attended by 286 members.

The southern African oil giant is expected to hold elections in September, and the run-up is being closely watched for signs of whether Dos Santos will seek a new term and whom the MPLA might pick to replace the long-serving leader, in power since 1979, when he eventually steps down.

A member of MPLA's central committee told AFP on condition of anonymity that the party had given Dos Santos the number one spot on its election list with Vicente at number two.

"Manuel Vicente appears as number two on the party's list for the next general election of September 2012, that is, as future vice-president of the republic or successor to the president as stipulated in the constitution," the source told AFP, saying the decision was taken at a central committee meeting held on Friday.

The election will be just the second since Angola's 27-year civil war ended in 2002.

The MPLA took 81 per cent of the vote at the last polls, in 2008, and is again seen as the overwhelming favourite.

Under a new constitution ratified in 2010, the president will be chosen from the top of the winning party's list in the parliamentary vote.

Dos Santos, 69, has not said publicly whether he will run.

As the election looms, Dos Santos said his party has already set its strategy and will be based on the will of the people.

"MPLA has worked for the welfare of the population," he said.

Dos Santos also pointed out some flaws in transmission and dissemination of the achievements of the party and government.

"We must recognise that we still cannot transmit and distribute the best of our achievements," he added.

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