See also:
» 09.02.2010 - Angola elects speaker
» 03.02.2010 - Angola’s new cabinet is sworn-in
» 21.01.2010 - Angola parliament stamps new constitution
» 14.01.2010 - Angola to endorse new constitution
» 11.03.2009 - UNITA accuses president of delaying polls for selfish benefit
» 23.02.2009 - Reform electoral commission – HRW
» 02.10.2008 - Angola unveils new cabinet
» 17.09.2008 - MPLA wins Angola's elections

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Angola set for first parliamentary poll in years

afrol News, 2 September - Angola is all set for Friday's polls where voters will cast their votes in first parliamentary elections in 16 years.

According to Angolan national electoral commission's spokesman, Adao de Almeida, polling stations will open for election at 5am and will remain open until 6pm to give voters enough time to cast their ballots.

"Propaganda materials will remain at least 500 meters away from polling stations on election date and no political activities will be allowed near poll stations," Mr Almeida said.

Meanwhile 2,500 observers have been recruited by national platform of Angolan civil society for elections (PNASCAE), to observe election process.

Last elections held in 1992 were won by incumbent president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of ruling MPLA who narrowly defeated late UNITA\'s Jonas Savimbi.

Mr Savimbi's son, Rafael will contest in country's first post-civil war elections, which he perceives as a chance for national unity and democratic process.

As leader of Angola's main opposition party, UNITA late Jonas Savimbi led a 27-year bush war against ruling MPLA party, which ended when he was killed by government troops in 2002.

Almost one million people died in war, which left about four million internally displaced and devastated country's roads, bridges and communications.

Now, Rafael, who holds a degree in business from a university in Ghana, says Angola is on verge of becoming a peaceful democracy as Angolans try to put their war-shattered past behind them.

Angola has bounced back enough to rival Nigeria as Africa's biggest oil producer and is one of continent\'s fastest growing economies.

Rafael is the only one of Savimbi's several children to run on UNITA ticket in Friday elections, in which 14 parties will contest 220 seats in parliament.

"Our fight now is one of national reconciliation," said Rafael, seated at his desk at UNITA headquarters in capital, Luanda.

"There were many deaths on the side of UNITA and deaths on the side of MPLA. Now we have the chance to prove that we are finally ready to unite."

Rafael (29), said UNITA was seeking to win a majority in parliament, but fact that elections were taking place at all he considered a victory for country's main opposition party.

MPLA is widely expected to retain or increase its majority in parliament against a divided and under-funded opposition.

While UNITA emphasises change as basis for its political message, pointing to social exclusion, poverty and widespread unemployment, MPLA claims credit for peace and stability as only party with governing experience.

Savimbi works as diplomatic assistant to current UNITA president, Isaias Samakuva, a former UNITA ambassador in Europe.

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