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Angola Holds Vote to Mark End of Dos Santos's 38-Year Rule

23 Août 2017

Around 9 million Angolans who have registered to vote will head to the polls when they open at 8 am on Wednesday morning.

Tomorrow Angolans will decide who is going to replace their president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos after just shy of 38 years in power. If elected, he will face the challenge of reversing the worst downturn since the country emerged from civil war in 2002, according to Manuel Alves da Rocha, chief economist at the Catholic University of Angola in Luanda.

At a weekend rally in front of thousands of MPLA party supporters, dos Santos, a frail-looking 74-year-old, made a brief appearance to endorse the likely new president. Notably, Mr Dos Santos's billionaire daughter runs the state oil company.

"We have no doubt about the victory of the MPLA, and our candidate will be the future president, which is why I ask you: August 23, vote MPLA. and Joao Lourenco", he said in a weak voice.

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"Dos Santos brought forward his departure to after these elections due to his deteriorating health", Alex Vines, of the Chatham House think-tank, told AFP news agency.

With Angola in the midst of an economic crisis caused by a fall in oil prices, opposition parties sense a political opportunity, Reuters reports.

Lourenco, 63, has focused in his campaign speeches on vowing to "fight against corruption", "create jobs" and "make Angola better".

The country's main two opposition parties, National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola - Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE), have complained of irregularities in the electoral process.

Angola Holds Vote to Mark End of Dos Santos's 38-Year Rule