The elections on August 31 2012 are the third ever legislative election in the country’s history and the first general election since Angola’s new constitution came into force.[1] The new constitution enacted on February 5 2010 establishes a party list system where citizens vote for a party instead of an individual candidate and the president will be the leader of the winning party’s list. [2]

Angola is governed by a president, vice president and 90 appointed ministers, deputy ministers and state secretaries. In total there are 220 seats in the National Assembly.[3] The current President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has held his post since 1979 and indications are that he will be re-elected president through a win of his party Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).[4]

When 90% of the ballots were counted the electoral authorities announced that the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) as anticipated won the elections, acquiring 73% of the votes. Unita came second with 18% and third Casa with 6%[5]   


The Elections

The 2008 elections were held after being postponed for about two years and the MLPA won with 81,6% of the votes. The elections were deemed peaceful and generally credible. However, the ruling party did enjoy advantages due to state control of major media and other resources. Despite, among other things, logistical failures more than 87 percent of the registered voters casted their votes and the results were generally accepted by the opposition.[6] In the 2008 elections 84 out of the 220 seats went to women, resulting in Angola having a 38,2% representation of women in the National Assembly. [7]. Out of the 18 governorships in the country three are held by women and nine of the 31 ministers in Angola are women.[8]

Free and Fair Elections?

There have been voices raised that if the current president Dos Santos is re-elected there will be more protest as well as violent repression.[9] However, this is also the first time since the first elections in 1992 that Dos Santos can gain a democratic mandate.[10] There are reports of growing violence against opposition supporters in the provinces.[11]

There are concerns over the lack of transparency in the poll. Therefore the main opposition party in Angola – National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) has called for the elections to be postponed for a month in order to provide time to handle these issues and make sure that the elections are held under the right conditions.[12]

Questions have also been raised regarding the credibility of the electoral process where allegations of irregularities have surrounded the process from the beginning.[13]. The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has over one hundred observers to cover the elections in Angola as a measure to increase the chance of free and fair elections. This is part of a bigger observation plan via the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) .[14]

In hindsight the African Union deemed the "free, fair, transparent and credible”.[15].

Women’s Participation

In the 2012 legislative elections five political parties and four party coalitions participate. Five out of the nine parties or coalitions have 30 percent women in their candidate lists. But no women are at the top of their respective party list and are therefore not among the presidential candidates.


Number of Female Candidates


(as ordered in the ballot)

Presidential Candidate

% of women in party candidate list

União Nacional para a Indepedência de Angola (UNITA)

Isaias Samakuva


Movimento Popular para a Libertação de Angola (MPLA)

José Eduardo dos Santos


Frente nacional para a Libertação de Angola (FNLA)

Lucas Bengue Ngonda


Partido de Renovação Social (PRS)

Eduardo Kwangana


Nova Democracia (ND)

Quintion António Moreira


Frente Unida para a Mudança de Angola (FUMA)

António Muachicungo


Conselho Político da Oposição (CPO)

Anastácio João Finda


PAPOD Artur Quichona Finda 20%

Coligação Eleitoral CASA-CE

Abel Chivukuvuku



Women are encouraged to take part in the electoral process and cast their vote.[16] A ‘Women Can Do It” programme has been carried out with the aim of teaching women to see when dominating techniques are being used against them, as well as how to use their friends and networks. 23 women from different organisations participated and were then expected to go out and encourage other women to take part in political and social processes.[17]

Election Outcome

According to the National Electoral Commission the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) led by President Dos Santos has won the elections with 71.8% of the vote. With opposition parties formally contesting the election results it was long unclear what the finale composition of the parliament will be.

Following the legislative elections on August 31, 2012 women make up 34,5 percent of the parliamentarians and in the 31 ministries there are only 8 positions held by women[18].

Women Political Representation Statistics

Political Representation

Elections 2008

Elections 31 August 2012

Number of Women in National Assembly



Female Ministers






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