Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, will hold general elections on Aug. 31, according to a statement from the office of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
The elections will be the second Angolan ballot since the end of a 27-year civil conflict in 2002, and the first for a president in 20 years. Voters will choose “to fill the position of president and members of the National Assembly” in a single poll, according to the statement e-mailed today.
The southern African country pumped about 1.8 million barrels of oil a day from wells drilled by companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., BP Plc and Total SA. Angola supplied 2.6 percent of U.S. oil imports in February, according to Energy Department data. China imported 15 percent of its crude from Angola in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Dos Santos is expected to run and win handily, while his choice of a successor remains a mystery, according to Alex Vines, head of the Africa program at Chatham House in London.
“The greatest issue of uncertainty is the succession of dos Santos in Angolan politics,” Vines said this month in a telephone interview. “That is the one thing we don’t know.”
Dos Santos said last year elections would be held by Sept. 5 and that he was “available” to extend his 32-year rule. He has not formally announced his candidacy, nor a list of candidates that would include a potential successor to the 69-year-old. Dos Santos is Africa’s second-longest-serving ruler after Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The governing Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola won the last parliamentary election in 2008 with 82 percent of the votes. The MPLA has 181 of the legislature’s 220 seats compared with 16 held by the largest opposition group, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola, a former rebel group.
Unita may suffer at the polls because former leader Abel Chivukuvuku, 54, broke with Unita leader Isaias Samakuva and set up his own party in March, Vines said.