News / Africa

Angolan Opposition Walks Out as Parliament Votes New Constitution

UNITA party left Angola's national assembly denouncing what they called an illegal and fraudulent constitutional process, but MPLA approved the document

The local branch of the Movement for the liberation of Angolan People (MPLA) is seen Cabinda, Angola on 20 Jan 2010
The local branch of the Movement for the liberation of Angolan People (MPLA) is seen Cabinda, Angola on 20 Jan 2010

Angola's main opposition party has walked out of parliament to protest a new constitution that expands the powers of the presidency. The walk-out occurred Wednesday as the assembly approved the first reading of the new document.

Fourteen parliament members of the opposition UNITA (Union for the Total Independence of Angola) party left Angola's national assembly denouncing what they called an illegal and fraudulent constitutional process.

Nevertheless, the document was overwhelmingly approved because the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) controls four-fifths of the seats. The constitution is expected to be approved in a final vote on Thursday and sent to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for signature.

Analysts said the new constitution enhances the powers of the president who becomes head-of-state, head of government and head of the armed forces. It abolishes the post of prime minister and creates a new post of vice-president.

Under the new document the head of the party that wins the most votes in parliamentary elections is elected president, a process known as the party-list system.

The president may serve two five-year terms which means Mr. Dos Santos could remain in power until 2022.

Presidential elections were expected last year but were postponed until a new constitution could be enacted.

The head of Benguela's Katiava Bwila University, political scientist Paulo de Carvalho, says the new constitution does not represent a setback for democracy and notes that the party list system is used in many democracies in Europe, Asia and South Africa.

He says there are no great changes in terms of political democratization because the new document maintains many existing clauses.

He says it also guarantees freedom of expression and the media. And it outlaws torture and ends the death penalty.

De Carvalho says more important is to have the political will to enact reforms that encourage political liberalization and maintain the process of national reconciliation.

Angola is still recovering from a lengthy struggle for independence and a subsequent 27-year civil war between the MPLA, UNITA and several other parties. The war ended with a peace agreement in 2002 after the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.

Savimbi ran against Mr. Dos Santos in Angola's first elections in 1992 but the second round was cancelled after he rejected the results and resumed fighting.

A separatist rebellion continues in the oil-rich enclave of Cabinda which is separated from Angola by the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rebels of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda two weeks ago killed two members of the national football team of Togo in an attack on the eve of the African Cup of Nations.

Human rights groups say since then authorities have arrested several local dissidents who, they say, have no ties to the rebels.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid