Monday, August 04, 2008

MPLA Launches Legislative Election Campaign in Angola

MPLA launches election campaign

Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

Angola’s ruling MPLA party on Saturday launched its campaign ahead of landmark September 5 legislative elections, the first in 16 years, with a promise to rebuild the country after 27 years of civil war.

"We have initiated the process of national reconstruction throughout the country," the MPLA’s secretary-general, Juliao Mateus Paolo, told supporters in the capital Luanda.

But "the MPLA will never be satisfied with the current achievements", he said, repeating pledges by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to build one million new houses across the country.

The MPLA, which has been in power since Angola gained independence in 1975, held its first large campaign meeting in the revamped neighbourhood of Zango, where people were housed after the demolition of their shantytowns.

The last legislative elections were held in 1992 during a lull in fighting between the then Unita rebel movement and government forces.

A first round of presidential elections took place at the same time but the second round was called off after former Unita leader Jonas Savimbi alleged there had been widespread vote rigging. Only his death in 2002 allowed for a return to peace.

Presidential elections are due to take place next year although Santos, in power since 1979, has yet to confirm whether he will stand again.

Despite the fact that Angola rivals Nigeria as Africa’s top oil producer and has seen strong growth in many areas, 70 percent of the population still lives in poverty. — AFP.

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