24 August 2017

Angolans choose new leader to replace Jose Eduardo dos Santos

Angolans are heading to the polls to vote for a replacement for their veteran leader.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been in power in the oil-rich country since 1979, making him the world’s second-longest serving president.

He is not standing in this election – Defence Minister Joao Lourenco is standing for the governing MPLA party.

His main challenger is expected to be Isias Samakuva, from the MPLA’s civil war rival, Unita.

Under Angola’s voting system, people are choosing both the candidate and party in one vote.

Analysts says the MPLA, which has been in power since independence in 1975, is likely to win.

The BBC’s Mayeni Jones in the capital Luanda says the young have very different priorities to their elders as they head to the ballot box.

The emphasis previously has been on stability because Angola went through a 27-year civil war which only ended in 2002.

But young people have been telling the BBC that they want one thing – jobs. They blame what they refer to as simply “the crisis” for losing their jobs.

After the war, Angola was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world because of its huge oil reserves.

But when global oil prices dropped two years ago, it affected the whole economy.

Given that the majority of the population are below 35, this demographic has a lot of voting power and its demands could be key, our correspondent says.

“You need to promise jobs, you need to promise housing, you need to promise study for their children,” says political analyst Dalvan Costa.

“I think they will decide the outcome of the election.”




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