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Angola's Elections: A Democratic Oil Giant?

Programme Paper
Indira Campos, September 2008

Angola Elections Sommaire (summary in French)

Angola is sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producer, reaching 2 million barrels a day. It is also OPEC's newest member. Angolans go to the polls on Friday 5 September 2008 for legislative elections, the first multiparty polls since 1992. Ten parties and four coalitions with 5,198 candidates will contest 220 seats.

Chatham House's pre-election assessment examines the run-up to these elections in this strategic southern African country whose export earnings in 2008 will be over US$84 billion. Over 8 million voters have registered for these elections which represent a milestone in Angola's post-conflict transition. They also form part of a wider process with presidential elections scheduled for 2009 and municipal elections in 2010. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has been in power since independence from Portugal in 1975.

Given the MPLA's institutional and financial strength, it is expected to win the election and might increase its majority which would allow it to change the constitution. For the main opposition party, the National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) these elections will determine how relevant they are, after their military defeat and six years of peace.

Moore Wilson Digital Agency London