President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola has signed a decree setting August 23 as the date for the Country’s general elections.
State radio has reported that Dos Santos, who is 74, is stepping down after some 38 years in power but will retain sweeping powers as president of the ruling MPLA party after the polls are held.
“At the suggestion of the president of the republic.. the nation’s cabinet approved August 23 as the date for Angola’s general election,” cabinet spokesman Joao Maria de Sousa said in a press conference broadcast on national radio.
Dos Santos’s party, the MPLA has been in power since independence in 1975. It has chosen Defence Minister Joao Lourenco, as its presidential candidate going into the polls.
“All the political, parliamentary, financial, logistical and security conditions are in place for transparent and unhindered general elections,” said Sousa, who also serves as the country’s chief prosecutor, apparently quoting Dos Santos.
Under dos Santos’s tight control, Angola has seen an oil-backed economic boom as well as reconstruction of infrastructure devastated by a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.
Most Angolans live in poverty despite the gains.