Embassy of Angola, Lagos
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Motto: República de Angola (Portuguese, Republic of Angola)
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (Portuguese: República de Angola, pronounced: [ʁɨˈpublikɐ dɨ ɐ̃ˈɡɔla]; Kikongo, Kimbundu, Umbundu: Repubilika ya Ngola), is a country in Southern Africa bordered byNamibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city. The exclave province of Cabinda has borders with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Portuguese were present in some—mostly coastal—points of the territory of what is now Angola, from the 16th to the 19th century, interacting in diverse ways with the peoples that lived there. In the 19th century they slowly and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior. Angola as a Portuguese colonyencompassing the present territory was not established before the end of the 19th century, and "effective occupation", as required by the Berlin Conference (1884) was achieved only by the 1920s. Independence was achieved in 1975, after a protracted liberation war. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002. The country has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy has on average grown at a two-digit pace since the 1990s, especially since the end of the civil war. In spite of this, standards of living remain low for the majority of the population, and life expectancy and infant mortality rates in Angola are among the worst-ranked in the world. Angola is considered to be economically disparate, with the majority of the nation's wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population.
Angola is a member state of the African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Latin Union and the Southern African Development Community.
President of Angola
The President of the Republic of Angola (Presidente da República de Angola in Portuguese) is both head of state and head of government in Angola. According to the constitution adopted in 2010, the post of Prime Minister is abolished; executive authority belongs to the President who has also a degree of legislative powers, as he can govern by decree.
The position of President dates from Angola's independence from Portugal. Agostinho Neto held the position when his then Marxist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won control of the country from the Portuguese. When Neto died in 1979, José Eduardo dos Santos succeeded him.
Under Dos Santos's leadership, Angola became a multi-party democracy. The most recent elections, held in 1992, reelected Dos Santos with 49% of the votes. Dos Santos's opponent, Jonas Savimbi of the National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) party, claimed that the elections were fraudulent.
In January 2010 the National Assembly approved a new constitution, according to which the leader of the party with the most seats in the Assembly would become president, rather than a public vote taking place. The new constitution also limits a president to serving two terms, although it does not count terms served to date, and abolished the post of Prime Minister, and introduced instead the post of vice-president.
Since the adoption of a new constitution, early in 2010, the politics of Angola takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Angola is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the President, the government and parliament.
Angola changed from a one-party Marxist-Leninist system ruled by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), in place since independence in 1975, to a multiparty democracy based on a new constitution adopted in 1992. That same year, first parliamentary and presidential elections were held. In the former, the MPLA won an absolute majority. In the latter, President José Eduardo dos Santos won the first round election with more than 49% of the vote to Jonas Savimbi's 40%. A runoff election would have been necessary, but never took place. The renewal of civil war immediately after the elections, which were considered as fraudulent by UNITA, and the collapse of the Lusaka Protocol, created a split situation. On the one hand, the new democratic institutions worked, notably the National Assembly, with the active participation of UNITA's and the FNLA's elected MPs - while José Eduardo dos Santos continued to exercise his functions without democratic legitimation. An the other hand, the armed forces of the MPLA (now the official armed forces of the Angolan state) and of UNITA fought each other until the leader of UNITA, Jonas Savimbi, was killed in action, in 2002.
From 2002 to 2010, the system as defined by the constitution of 1992 functioned in a relatively normal way. The executive branch of the government was composed of the President, the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers, composed of all ministers and vice ministers, met regularly to discuss policy issues. Governors of the 18 provinces were appointed by and served at the pleasure of the president. The Constitutional Law of 1992 established the broad outlines of government structure and the rights and duties of citizens. The legal system was based on Portuguese and customary law but was weak and fragmented. Courts operated in only 12 of more than 140 municipalities. A Supreme Court served as the appellate tribunal; a Constitutional Court with powers of judicial review was never constituted despite statutory authorization. In practice, power was more and more concentrated in the hands of the President who, supported by an ever increasing staff, largely controlled parliament, government, and the judiciary.
President: José Eduardo dos Santos
Born 28 August 1942 (age 70)
Luanda, Overseas Province of Angola, Portugal
José Eduardo dos Santos (born August 28, 1942) is an Angolan politician who has been President of Angolasince 1979. As President, José Eduardo dos Santos is also the commander in chief of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and president of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the party that has ruled Angola since it gained independence in 1975