Africa > Central Africa > Angola > Angola Governement Profile

Angola: Angola Governement Profile



President  Jose Eduardo dos Santos

 President Dos Santos is one of Africa's longest serving leaders
Jose Eduardo dos Santos, of the ruling MPLA, has been in power since 1979, and is Africa's second-longest serving chief of national next Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang. He keeps tight control over all aspects of Angola's political life.

A lot of Angolans credit the president for leading the country to recovery next the end of its 27-year civil war in 2002, and for turning the country's formerly socialist economy into one of the world's fastest-growing - mainly on the back of Angola's prodigious oil wealth.

Some, however, accuse him of authoritarianism, staying in office for too long and failing to distribute the proceeds from the oil boom additional widely.

In 2008, his party won the country's initial parliamentary elections for 16 years in 2008. A new constitution approved in 2010 substituted direct election of the president with a system under which the top candidate of the major party in parliament becomes president.

It as well strengthened the presidency's powers, prompting the Unita opposition to accuse the government of "destroying democracy".

Political ferment

In early 2011 a social media campaign calling for protests to end Mr Dos Santos' policy gathered momentum, but petered out amid what the New York-based campaign group Human Rights Watch called a "campaign of intimidation" against demonstrations.

The MPLA won the 2012 parliamentary election comfortably, guaranteeing My Dos Santos an extra five-year term in office.

Born in 1942, Mr Dos Santos joined the MPLA's guerrilla army at the age of 19. In the former Soviet Union he trained in oil engineering and radar technology. He held ministerial posts before becoming president.

He came to office at the same time as the country's initial post-independence president, Agostinho Neto, died, inheriting the civil war with the Unita party.

Next a peace transaction signed in 1991, Mr Dos Santos beat Unita leader Jonas Savimbi in the initial round of Angola's initial contested presidential election in 1992, but Savimbi rejected the result and resumed guerrilla war. No second round was held, but Mr Dos Santos was recognised internationally as president.

Local government 

Angola consists of 18 provinces. Cabinda is separated from the others. The provinces are divided into districts and communes. The communes are led by commissioners who are appointed by the President on the approbation of the MPLA-PT. They used to statement due to the Prime Minister.

Provincial legislatures consisting of 55–85 members were created in 1980. In 1986, these legislatures were expanded up to 100 members each. In the 1992 elections, MPLA carried 14 of the provinces to UNITA's four. The civil war severely disrupted the performance of local government, and for a lot of years, severed ties between Luanda and the outlying provinces.


The constitution of 1975, amended in 1976 and 1980, was promulgated and revised by the MPLA. The president of the republic is both chief of national and chief of government. He appoints and leads the council of ministers. The Council of Ministers, chaired by the president of Angola, formed the executive. In 1980, a 223-member National People's Assembly, not instantly elected, restored the Council of the Revolution as the supreme organ of the National. In January 1987, the Assembly was enlarged to 289 members, and by 1997, reduced to 229. Instantly the 220-member body is elected by proportional vote to four-year terms.

A transitional government was established in December 1992 dominated by the MPLA. UNITA held six cabinet posts, and four other parties were as well represented. In 1997, the MPLA and UNITA reached an agreement that allowed UNITA to participate in a Government of National Unity and Reconciliation. With the ruling party's approval, UNITA would nominate candidates for four ministerial positions: Trade, Geology and Mines, Health, and Hotels and Tourism. UNITA members would as well occupy a number of deputy ministerial, governor, deputy governor, and ambassadorial posts. In early 1997, 70 elected UNITA deputies assumed their seats in the National Assembly, and Jonas Savimbi assumed the role of appropriate advisor to President José Eduardo dos Santos.

The resumption of war in 1998 all but doomed this arrangement, and rendered the National Assembly nominally functional. In reality, it has little independence and does not have oversight over presidential appointments or the ability to initiate legislation. In 1999, dos Santos abolished the post of prime minister, vesting these powers in the director of his own office. He as well created a parallel ministry of defense within the presidency.


Government type: 

republic; multiparty presidential regime

Administrative divisions: 

18 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Bengo, Benguela, Bie, Cabinda, Cuando Cubango, Cuanza Norte, Cuanza Sul, Cunene, Huambo, Huila, Luanda, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Malanje, Moxico, Namibe, Uige, Zaire


11 November 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday: 

Independence Day, 11 November (1975)


adopted by People's Assembly 25 August 1992

Legal system: 

based on Portuguese civil law system and customary law; modified to accommodate political pluralism and increased use of free markets; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch: 

unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (220 seats; members elected by proportional vote to serve four-year terms) elections: last held on 5-6 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2012) election results: percent of vote by party - MPLA 81.6%, UNITA 10.4%, PRS 3.2%, ND 1.2%, FNLA 1.1%, other 2.5%; seats by party - MPLA 191, UNITA 16, PRS 8, FNLA 3, ND 2

Judicial branch: 

Supreme Court and separate provincial courts (judges are appointed by the president)

Political parties and leaders : 

National Front for the Liberation of Angola or FNLA [Ngola KABANGU]; National Union for the Total Independence of Angola or UNITA (largest opposition party) [Isaias SAMAKUVA]; Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola or MPLA (ruling party in power since 1975) [Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS]; Social Renewal Party or PRS [Eduardo KUANGANA] note: nine other parties participated in the legislative election in September but won no seats

Political pressure groups and leaders: 

Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda or FLEC [N'zita Henriques TIAGO, Antonio Bento BEMBE] note: FLEC's small-scale armed struggle for the independence of Cabinda Province persists despite the signing of a peace accord with the government in August 2006

International organization participation: 

ACP, AfDB, AU, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OPEC, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description: 

two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and black with a centered yellow emblem consisting of a five-pointed star within half a cogwheel crossed by a machete (in the style of a hammer and sickle); red represents liberty, black the African continent, the symbols characterize workers and peasants