December 29, 2011 / 5:32 AM / 7 years ago

Angola preparing to hold fair election in 2012: President

LISBON (Reuters) - Angola is preparing the necessary legal mechanisms to hold a well organised, transparent and fair parliamentary election in late 2012, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said on Wednesday.

Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos talks to journalists after a signature agreement ceremony held at Sao Bento Palace in Lisbon, Portugal. March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Hugo Correia

The election will be only the third in oil-producing Angola after it gained independence from Portugal in 1975, Dos Santos said in an end-of-year speech broadcast by state TV channel TPA, monitored by Reuters in Lisbon.

Angola’s political parties earlier this month reached a deal on a new electoral law, ending months of negotiations over who will organise the election.

The main opposition party UNITA had previously accused the MPLA of trying to control the election by stripping the National Elections Committee of power and eroding its independence.

Dos Santos, who has held power since 1979, did not confirm whether he would lead his ruling MPLA party in a re-election bid, though last month HE signalled he would run by saying he was ready for any mission his party selects for him.

“Some parties have already announced the candidate they will support to run for the presidency in the election, while other are yet to make the announcement, as is natural,” he said.

Dos Santos last year strengthened his grip on power with a new constitution which stipulates the person at the top of the list of the party that wins a parliamentary election becomes president, without need for a direct presidential ballot.

The president has faced unprecedented protest from a burgeoning youth movement calling for his resignation this year.

“Radical processes provoke rupture and great disorientation with grave social consequences, while changes through democratic processes, through dialogue and within the law guarantee social stability,” he said.

Dos Santos’ MPLA won a 27-year civil war against UNITA and then crushed the opposition in a 2008 election, obtaining 82 percent of the votes.

His administration has long been accused of mismanaging the country’s oil revenues, avoiding public scrutiny and doing too little to fight corruption and widespread poverty in Africa’s second largest oil producer after Nigeria.

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