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Angolan President Says He Will Quit Politics in 2018

FILE - Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (C) addresses the media in the capital, Luanda, in a Aug. 31, 2012, photo.

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, one of Africa's longest-ruling leaders, said Friday he will quit politics in 2018 following the end of his current term.

Speaking to leaders of the ruling MPLA party in the capital, Luanda, dos Santos said, "I have taken the decision to leave active politics in 2018."

Dos Santos, who has led Angola since 1979, has hinted at retiring before but always remained in office.

A spokesman for the opposition UNITA party said Friday that the party will believe dos Santos is stepping down when they see it.

The president is nearing the end of a five-year term that began when his party won the August 2012 general election. Last year, he announced the next elections will take place in August 2017.

In his speech Friday, dos Santos did not say why he intends to retire, and did not name a potential successor.

The 73-year-old president is Africa's second-longest ruling leader, after President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.

Under his rule, Angola has become the second-largest crude oil producer in Africa and achieved stability after the end of a 27-year civil war.

But critics accuse him of using oil wealth to amass huge fortunes for himself, his allies and his family, while letting the majority of Angolans live in poverty.

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