LISBON – Angola will hold a parliamentary election on August 31 that is likely to confer another term in office on President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, leader of Africa’s second biggest oil-producer for the last 32 years.
A statement issued on Wednesday by Dos Santos’ office said he had decided on the date after a meeting of the Council of the Republic, an advisory board whose 19 members include senior government officials, opposition leaders and judges.
The election will only be Angola’s second after the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002. Dos Santos’ MPLA won the civil war against rebel group UNITA and then crushed its rivals in a 2008 election, obtaining 82 percent of the votes.
Since then dos Santos has tightened his stranglehold on power under a 2010 constitution that eliminated a direct presidential vote and made the head of the winning parliamentary party president.
He is already Africa’s longest-serving ruler after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Dos Santos has long kept analysts, investors and oil companies watching one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies guessing about his political plans.
He has yet to disclose whether he will lead his party in the election, but is widely expected to do so after saying last year that he was ready for any mission which the party gave him.
His administration has long been accused of clamping down on dissent, disregarding human rights and doing little to fight widespread graft and poverty in Africa’s largest crude producer after Nigeria.