Angola’s Dos Santos, ex-oil boss top party list for poll
LUANDA – Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and the former boss of the powerful state oil company Sonangol were named to the top of the ruling party’s list for August elections, an official said yesterday.
“The choice of Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Manuel Vicente to lead the MPLA for the upcoming August 31 elections reinforces the party’s edge to win this poll,” top party official Afonso Mbinda told AFP.
The party congress still has to endorse the list, widely seen as a formality.
Angola’s new constitution abolished direct presidential elections in favour of a party list system. Dos Santos, Africa’s second-longest serving leader with 32 years in power, was assured of the top spot.
Vicente’s rise to the number two position cements his role as heir apparent, less than six months after moving from Sonangol into government as the minister for economic coordination.
He now appears set to become vice president, as the MPLA has won large majorities in Angola’s previous two elections.
During the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA)’s closed-door central committee Wednesday, Dos Santos said he would use a new term to focus on social issues, including aid for women, children and the elderly, Mbinda said.
“The MPLA central committee’s decision to tap Dos Santos and Vicente isn’t a surprise, as the party leader had already named Vicente as his heir apparent, despite criticism from the party’s old guard that he lacks political experience,” political analyst Victor Ales said.
Vicente’s job in government was created for him. He has made few public appearances or statements, but his rise signals the deep role played by the oil elite in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer.