Angola – New method of electing the president proposed

In Angola the constitution-making process is continuing and it is looking increasingly likely that semi-presidentialism will be abandoned.

Angop reports that in August President José Eduardo dos Santos expressed his preference for electing the president by way of the parliamentary election. He seems to favour the system that operates in Guyana whereby the leader of the party list that gains the most votes at the parliamentary election is elected as president. The report also states that the president would then have to be ratified by parliament.

In a previous post, I ruminated on whether this system was sufficient to classify Guyana as semi-presidential and concluded that, in my opinion, it was not.

In another report from Angop, more details about the constitutional reform process were outlined. As reported in a previous post the National Assembly has established a Constitutional Commission. The Commission will draw up three texts. It then seems that in November and December there will be debates in parliament. Then, from 5 January to 20 February 2010 there will be a period of public consultation “involving socio-professional associations, relevant entities, traditional authorities, non-governmental organisations, representatives of churches, students and other organs of the civil society”. In February and March 2010 the Constitutional Commission will reassess the situation and draw up a text for final deliberation in the Assembly. A referendum cannot be ruled out.

Given the proposed way of electing the president has the backing of dos Santos, who has just celebrated 30 years in power, then it is unlikely that a different system will be included, unless the president changes his mind. That said, in the meeting with Jacob Zuma at which he outlined his idea, dos Santos also referred to this system as one of direct election. This is questionable. However, this means that he could revert to the standard method of direct election and still say that he was being consistent. Anyway, further updates will no doubt follow.

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