- Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos has announced that parliamentary elections will be held every four years after September election, further appealing to all political parties to maintain peace and stability at the forthcoming parliamentary elections, and take an extraordinary step towards normalisation of political life of the country.
"Legislative elections will be held regularly with periodic renewals every four years in accordance with constitution," he said.
Mr Dos Santos appealed to all political parties to run an election that would serve as an example to the rest of the world, following election violence in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
The Angolan leader, who has been in office since 1979 and whose Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party has been in power for 33 years, asked citizens in the oil-rich nation to avoid all forms of intimidation and insults that can lead to destabilisation the country.
"Angola can be an example to African continent and to the world in general on how to hold democratic, free and transparent elections," he said.
Meanwhile, official campaign for elections kicks off today with ten parties and four coalitions competing for votes. Each party will be given five minutes of television time each day and ten minutes on radio to draw in voters.
Reports from Launda say ruling MPLA, has its leader's posters placed on the streets, with messages praising government construction and social projects. Apart from pictures of dos Santos, MPLA flags have also been placed throughout major towns where 70 percent of population lives on less than two dollars a day despite Angola rivaling Nigeria as Africa's largest oil producer.
At a weekend rally even before official campaigning began, MPLA promised to work to rebuild the country following almost three decades civil war that ended in 2002.
Leader of the main opposition and former rebel movement UNITA, Isaias Samakuva, pledged the country would avoid an electoral crisis similar to what occurred in fellow African nations, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
A total of 5,198 candidates will contest 220 parliamentary seats, with more than eight million Angolans registered to vote.
Angola's last national election in 1992 was aborted, leading to resumption of civil war. Conflict between government and rebels of National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) cost more than a million lives and destroyed country's infrastructure.
Peace was restored only after government troops killed UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in 2002.
UNITA which remains main opposition party, according to many political observers, is unlikely to unseat dos Santos's ruling MPLA, which currently holds 129 seats out of 220. UNITA has 70 seats.
Parliamentary poll will be followed by a presidential election in 2009. Mr Dos Santos is expected to run.
European Union has sent 90 observers to oversee electoral process in Angola and other missions are expected to follow.
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