Angola: leadership change and the risks ahead

Angolan Defense Minister Joao Lourenco meets his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen
General Joao Lourenco (C) is expected to win this August’s elections and take over from President Jose Eduardo dos Santos next year (source: dpa)
  • President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s ruler for 38 years, will step down next year
  • He maintained stability but presided over a kleptocratic system that caused an economic crisis
  • The president’s chosen successor will likely win elections in August
  • The transition of power is likely to be successful, but risks remain

After a period of uncertainty, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos officially announced he will not seek reelection. On February 3, in his opening speech to the general meeting of the central committee of his party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, Mr. dos Santos repeated his wish to retire. Later, the central committee approved the party’s list of candidates for the election – President dos Santos’ name was not on it. Instead, Defense Minister General Joao Lourenco and Minister of Territorial Administration Professor Bornito de Sousa were at the top. If the MPLA wins the election as expected, Mr. Lourenco will become president and Mr. Bornito vice president.

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