- Angola's main opposition party has marched out the of parliament on Wednesday, to show disapproval of the proposed constitution that will strengthen the three decades-long rule of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. The final vote on the document as a whole is due on Thursday.
The Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) parliamentarians have reportedly walked out of the National Assembly denouncing the constitutional process saying it is illegal and fraudulent and refusing to take part in a vote.
The new constitution will keep the president as head of government and the armed forces but replace the prime minister with a vice president, ensuring the presidency has greater control.
It will also let President dos Santos keep power without a direct ballot because the president is chosen as the leader of the party that wins the 80 percent of the vote for parliament.
UNITA also disputes proposed laws over land ownership and national symbols like the county's flag.
The proposed constitution was drafted by a commission tasked with compiling ideas from all of Angola's parliamentary parties. The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) had an 81 percent majority on the commission, as it does in parliament.
Analysts have suggested the government is rushing the vote, which was not expected until March, in a bid to stifle debate as the country is currently hosting the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament.
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been in power for 30 years, but has only faced an election once, in 1992 that triggered a new phase in Angola's civil war, with the country’s main opposition party UNITA claiming widespread rigging.
UNITA has been highly critical of the reform process and the indirect election idea, which President dos Santos suggested himself during a public press conference.
Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party won a landslide victory in 2008.
The lack of visibility over the presidency has been a source of political and economic uncertainty in the Southern African nation.
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