21 February 2018

Angola: Opposition Calls for Local Elections Roadmap

Luanda — Opposition parties represented in parliament are appealing for the setting of a specific date for the holding of the local elections, having into account a series of economic, administrative and political tasks to be implemented.

This intention was manifested last Tuesday, in Luanda, by representatives of the opposition parties UNITA and PRS, in reaction to recent pronouncements of the Angolan Head of State, João Lourenço, confirming that the Executive wants the implementation of local governments before the next general polls, scheduled for the year 2022.

To Raúl Danda, UNITA MP, the Head of State started speaking about local elections during the last year's electoral campaign, however, so far no date for the local elections has been set.

He deemed it urgent for the country to draft a roadmap leading up to the holding of the first local elections in Angola, further stressing that he thinks that the Executive is facing difficulties to implement this process.

"Those who are used to having full control over the governance have difficulties to go for local elections, since one cannot win everything, so there must be willingness to give away some political, administrative and financial power", he emphasised.

The largest opposition party also refutes the idea of gradual implementation of the local governments (as defended by the ruling party).

Mihaela Weba, a UNITA MP and jurist, said that "it does not make sense, we all have rights and duties. We have the right to have an elected government in our municipality to solve our problems", said the MP, who also stressed that the principle of equality that is applied to the citizens ought also to be applied to the municipalities.

On his turn, the president of the Social Renewal Party (PRS), MP Benedito Daniel, said the divulgence of news announcing local elections is welcome and pleases the PRS party.

"Although the President of the Republic has not announced the specific year in which the local elections will take place, we now have good indications, that is, we now know that they will take place before 2022", he said.

Benedito Daniel defends that the local elections should take place in the year 2019 or, at the latest, 2020, disapproving, however, of the principle of geographic gradualism as well.

"Geographic gradualism is not an intention of Angolans for the local elections, it would accentuate the asymmetries. It is urgent to correct this mistake (...)", he defended.

MP Virgílio Tiova, of the ruling MPLA, is against the idea that the salvation of the lives of the citizens is the implementation of local governments.

To him, the principle of gradualism is about implementing local governments in some municipalities in the first stage and then gradually, in subsequent moments, implement them in other municipalities until all are covered.

"The idea being passed is that those municipalities that do not become self-governed yet will be forgotten, but that is not so, they will continue to get budgetary allocation, I mean that is why the state has been promoting a de-concentration process (from the top structures) to the municipalities (municipal administrations)", he clarified.

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