Angola will be heading to the polls on Wednesday, August 24th, 2022. The election will be parliamentary and presidential, with the leader of the party that attains the most votes for parliament becoming president, in accordance with the Angolan Constitution. This will be the fourth election in Angola since the end of the civil war in 2002. Several political parties will participate in the election with the main contenders being the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The MPLA and UNITA are led by the current President of Angola, Joao Lourenco, and Adalberto Costa Junior.
Angola’s National Electoral Commission (CNE) claims that 14 million citizens are eligible to cast their votes. This will also be the first time Angolans in the diaspora will be able to participate in an election. Election observers representing various groups and organizations such as the African Union, the European Union, and the Southern African Development Community amongst others, have been invited to the country for the duration of the electoral process.
The MPLA and UNITA are intertwined by their history. The two political parties have been rivals for a long time as they were on opposite sides during the Angolan Civil War. The MPLA has been the governing party since Angola’s independence in 1975. During the majority of that period, Eduardo dos Santos was the leader of the party and president of the country until he stepped down and made João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço his successor in 2017. Lourenco took over a country that was mired in corruption and inequality. His first actions as the leader were going after the corrupt in Angola, including some of Dos Santos’ children. His anti-corruption campaign was seen as cosmetic by some, accusing Lourenco of favoritism by protecting his own cronies against accusations of corruption.
Angola is a southern African country with a population of 35 million. Even though it counts Portuguese as its only official language, more than 46 languages are spoken in the country. The country is rich in natural minerals such as oil, gas, and diamonds. It is the second biggest producer of oil in Africa behind Nigeria. Angola is an important economic partner to the European Union and the United States.