Angola. Parliamentary elections were held in September for the first time since 1992. The elections had been postponed again and again, but the President promised that from now on, general elections should be held regularly every four years.
The election was held in quiet forms but with several shortcomings in the arrangements, especially in the capital Luanda. EU observers found the deficiencies so serious that they did not explicitly want to describe the election as free and honest, but admitted that it was a progress for democracy that it was implemented at all.
The result was a superior victory for the Movemento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola), which gained almost 82 percent of the vote and 191 of Parliament’s 220 seats. The leading opposition party, the former guerrilla movement União Nacional para Independência Total de Angola (UNITA, the National Union of Angola’s full independence), received just over 10 percent of the vote and 16 seats. UNITA was denied its request for the re-election in Luanda and then accepted the defeat.
After the election, the government was reformed and Paulo Kassoma, governor of Huambo province, was appointed prime minister.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of AO in general and in geography as Angola in particular.
After the abolition of slave labor in Angola in 1878, local labor was instead exploited through contract work. The African remained a commodity. It led, among other things, to the traditional farming in many places disintegrated. The number of Portuguese colonists increased rapidly. By 1900 they were 10,000, by 1950 they were 80,000 and by the end of 1974 – shortly before independence – they had reached 350,000. Yet only 1 in 100 colonists lived on a property in the interior of the country. The colonial economy was parasitic, based on the extraction of the country’s mineral and agricultural resources – primarily diamonds and coffee. The entire profits ended up in the hands of Portuguese middlemen.
The Portuguese gradually gave a small group of Africans a higher education – the so-called assimilados – and it was among these that in the late 1860s, demands were made for reforms within the colonial system. A number of critical newspapers emerged – especially in the Luanda area – and the opposition was given improved opportunities for their activities during the Republic of Portugal from 1910 to 1926. When Antonio Salazar came to power and fascism prevailed in 1926, the situation became more difficult. While other Western European colonial powers began to prepare independence for their African colonies, it was clear that Salazar would retain the Portuguese as commodity suppliers for the backward domestic economy. In Luanda, cultural societies were formed in the 1940s among assimilados, and now they demanded independence. However, harsh repression forced the opposition underground. But at the same time, it bubbled among Angolans at the University of Lisbon, where the illegal Communist Party played a significant role. The leaders of the Angolans there were the medical student Agostinho Neto and the lyricist Mario de Andrade , who on 10 December 1956 became the founders of the MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertaçao de Angola), the popular movement for the liberation of Angola – originally a joint organization of a number of smaller opposition groups. Already at its founding, the MPLA’s program was characterized by Western European Marxist ideas , although the main objective was national independence.
Unlike previous Angolan opposition groups based on the assimilado population, MPLA immediately contacted groups outside the petty bourgeoisie of Luanda. Early cooperation was initiated with the slum dwellers in the muceques , the slums in Luanda, and secret schools were set up. It is important to note that the MPLA has not at any time relied on the support of only one tribe or people group.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Angola in 2008 was 23,356,135, ranking number 50 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.750% yearly, and the population density was 18.7345 people per km2.