officially ended Wednesday night ahead of Angola's parliamentary election after
the last election plunged the country into a civil war that lasted over a
decade. Friday's parliamentary election pitches President Jose
Eduardo dos Santos's ruling MPLA (Popular
Movement for the Liberation of Angola) against main opposition
UNITA (The National Union for the Total
Independence of Angola). The ruling MPLA held 129 seats of the 220 in
Angola's parliament with the main UNITA party holding the remaining seats in
the previous parliament. VOA'S Scott Bobb is in Angola covering the
parliamentary election. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital,
Luanda that Angolans are united and determined to ensure free and fair
election, which is devoid of violence.
"Today, Thursday is a day of
reflection. By law, all campaigning cease at midnight local time Wednesday
night and it is a quiet day and a normal day, whereas Wednesday was a day where
it was a work optional day. Many people did not go to work in order to attend
the various rallies. Today Thursday, they go back to work and are in principle
supposed to be thinking about their choice and who they would vote for on
Friday, when they do go to the polls," Bobb noted.
He said the economy has been
the major concern for all Angolans irrespective of party affiliation.
"I think all parties agree that
economic issues or pocketbook issues are the major ones for most Angolan
voters. There is prosperity in the sense that petroleum revenues are very high
and tremendous revenues from oil, diamonds and other minerals, but yet a lot of
these does not trickle down to the population in general. And on the contrary,
this influx of money has caused a leaping inflation, the standard of living has
declined and the middle class is hard pressed. So there is a stress on the
family on the pocketbook and the individual and all parties are aware of it.
But they are not quite sure how to deal with it, but in the campaigning they
have expressed the need for more job creation and improving infrastructure,
which has begun in earnest among others," he said.
Bobb said Angolans are
unanimous to ensure that history does not repeat itself in this election.
"In 1992, they held a first
round and UNITA did not win and as a result the war resumed and lasted for 10
years until after the death of Jonas Savimbi (former leader of UNITA) in 2002.
And as a result, there is a great, shall I say awareness of the need for peace
and all parties have been expressing the desire that this election occur and
that there would be peace and tranquility and that whoever wins and whoever
loses accepts the results. So, there is a sense that it is time to move on and
get beyond the past, and I will say all parties will like to do that. There
would be disputes, possible there would be incidents, but most people with whom
I have spoken believe that they would be minor and isolated," Bobb pointed out.
a two-thirds majority would allow the ruling party not only to change the
constitution but also to continue to reject calls from the opposition to
transfer some of the president's executive powers to the prime minister.
However, Some political analysts worry that President Dos Santos wants to
change the basic law to further increase his own powers.