Angola's dos Santos hands over the baton after 38 years

Tuesday September 26 2017

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and former Defence minister Joao Lourenco holding hands during a campaign rally in Luanda. PHOTO | AFP  

By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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Former Defence minister João Lourenço was Tuesday sworn-in as Angola's third president at a ceremony shunned by the opposition parties.

The ceremony at the Praça da República in Marginal da Praia do Bispo in Luanda, was presided over by the Constitutional Court President, Mr Rui Ferreira.

Mr Lourenço replaced José Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power for 38 years.

He vowed to defend peace, sovereignty and democracy, as dictated by the Angolan constitution.

What is wrong

“As the country’s third president, I thank all who voted in MPLA and we will work to improve the living standards of all our people,” he said.

“We will implement the decentralisation of power and we will dialogue with all organs of society.

"Our motto will be to improve what is good and and correct what is wrong and I will defend the independence and the integrity of the country,” he added.

Mr Bornito de Sousa was sworn-in as the vice-president.

President dos Santos was among the dignitaries at the ceremony.

The veteran rule who indicated in March 2016 that he would quit politics in 2018, remains the MPLA leader.

The opposition parties; the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), the Board of Convergence for Angolan Salvation- Electoral Coalition (Casa-Ce), the Social Renovation Party (PRS) and National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), shunned the ceremony.

Last month, the leaders of Unita, Casa-Ce, PRS and FNLA, vowed to challenge the election results.

End of the war

They also promised to boycott parliament, but last week accepted their parliamentary seats.

The National Electoral Commission (CNE) confirmed that MPLA had won the August 23 poll with 61.07 per cent vote and 150 MPs

Unita came second with 26.7 per cent of the votes cast and 51 MPs, while Casa-Ce was third with 9.4 per cent and 16 MPs.

Fourth was the social Renovation Party (PRS) with 1.45 per cent of the vote and two MPs, followed by the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) with 0.93 per cent and a single MP, then the National Patriotic Alliance (APN) with 0.51 per cent and no MP.

The election was Angola's fourth since independence from Portugal in 1975 and the third since the end of the war in 2002.