Angola elections: what is at stake?
Angolans are going to the polls for the fifth time in history on Wednesday August 24. More than 14 million voters are registered for Wednesday’s general elections. We asked jurists on the ground what was at stake.
“In the Republic of Angola we have, a presidential-parliamentary system of government which means the President of the Republic is elected according to the model of a parliamentary system, but with the powers of a presidential system. We elect members of parliament in a single list, and if the head of the list of the winning party is elected, he automatically becomes president of the republic.”, explains Sebastião Salakiaco.
The election not only brings a new president, but voters also choose their representatives in the National Assembly and local deputies.
“On one hand we have the national constituency, which elects 130 members, and the 18 provincial constituencies each elect five members. Our legislator established two methods, the system of proportional representation and the Hondt method. In the system of proportional representation, seats are distributed to the national constituency. The Hondt method is used for provincial constituencies.”, told, Miguel Vita Paulo.
There is a novelty in these elections: for the first time, Angolans living abroad have the right to vote remotely.
Angola to hold general elections on August 24
President João Lourenço announced the date before the Council of the Republic, a consultative body that met on Friday to vote on the head of state’s proposal.
Even before the date of the ballot was revealed, electioneering had long gotten underway.
But the leader of the opposition UNITA party, Adalberto da Costa Júnior, decried what he called the unequal treatment accorded to political parties.
“The competitors in an electoral challenge do not have differentiated valences. The law puts them all in the same circumstances, so says our constitution, so say the laws. But as any serious and honest citizen evaluates, we are in a process of electoral approximation absolutely violating the laws,” he said.
An accusation that Rui Falcão Pinto de Andrade refutes. The member of the ruling party’s political bureau told Africanews that “the MPLA has shown organizational capacity”, while “the opposition sees phenomena that do not exist”.
João Lourenço was elected on August 23, 2017, and is seeking a second term. It will be the fifth time that Angolans go to the polls since 1992.
Angola: Apathy and enthusiasm as parties vie for youth vote
Angola, more than half the population is under 30. Many voters were born after the end of the war in 2002.
The end of the war saw a period of oil-backed boom in the southern African country. When oil prices fell in 2015, Angola’s economy struggled to keep its record-breaking growth rates as debt and currency shortages began to bite.
As the August 24 election beckons, Angola’s youth are a key constituency.
Hairdresser Honorato Francisco is voting for the first time and expresses the hope that his vote will contribute to a better country.
“The expectation is always improvement, we want something different from what we had in previous years. This is my expectation that the people, not only me, all of us want improvement,” he said.
“Trusting one or the other (politicians) is extremely complicated. Whoever deserves it, let him make his difference,” Francisco added.
Although many are eager to vote, there are those who share different feelings. That’s the case of entrepreneur and student Sebastião Florentino.
“I’ve voted other times, but I’m in a disappointed phase, so I don’t think I’ll vote this time, no. Every year it’s been the same. For those who vote and those who don’t vote, it’s all the same. The results are never presented in a transparent way. So I feel that whether I vote or not, it doesn’t matter. For me the biggest satisfaction would be that the current state and the future state simply solve the social problems, for me who will govern is not the most important thing,” he said.
Businessman and artist Lord Nilo, meanwhile, defends the importance of voting, which he considers an exercise of citizenship.
“Abstaining from voting is not an option at this stage when the youth is primarily invited to participate in change, whatever it may be, social change, political change. It is important that each of us is aware that the country belongs to all of us, and we all exercise power over the State. In the end, the State is us”.