In August 2012, Angolans will go to the polls for their nation’s third election since gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, and their second election in peacetime. However, the anticipated election is ridden with controversy, including concern over election fraud, state media bias, and violent crackdowns on activists and protesters.
Twenty-seven parties and coalitions have attempted to enter this year’s election; however, only a third of them received approval from Angola’s congressional court. The congressional court, as well as the ruling MPLA government, is accused of unfairly excluding certain parties because of their progressive-leaning tendencies. Although UNITA, the largest opposition party, was granted permission to enter the election, many other important parties have been excluded. Some of the excluded parties include the Partido Popular (headed by a human rights lawyer) and the Bloco Democrático.
Human Rights Watch has criticized the MPLA government for its violent response to public protests by both former soldiers demanding unpaid military pensions and youth groups with reputations for criticizing the government.
Although Angola’s 2008 election was peaceful, despite allegations of vote fraud, unrest disrupted the 1992 election and led to a second phase of civil war in Angola that lasted until 2002.
Source: Louise Redvers, “Concerns over Poll Preparations in Angola,” Inter Press Service News Agency, July 6, 2012, http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/07/concerns-over-poll-preparations-in-angola/
Student Researcher: Devin Mast (Santa Rosa Junior College)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (Santa Rosa Junior College)