Angola: no elections yet; It has been 12 years since Angola last held national elections, but it is unlikely that the country will do so soon, as the ruling MPLA party insists on completing its 14-task programme before elections are held. Gina Jere reports.

Author:Jere, Gina

Last month, around 30 opposition groups and non-governmental organisations teamed up to persuade the government to hold elections in 2005. But the government argued that it would be imprudent to rush the elections without laying the proper foundations, having just come from years of a destructive civil conflict.

Led by President Eduardo dos Santos, the ruling MPLA party has been in power for almost 30 years, most of which saw the country entangled in a devastating civil war with UNITA rebels. The war only ended two years ago when the UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi was killed in an ambush in February 2002.

According to the government, if elections are to be held next year, it will not be able to complete the necessary election requirements such as approving a new constitution, passing a new electoral register law, and forming an electoral council. This means that elections cannot be held until 2006.

"These are unavoidable chores," says information secretary, Kwata Kanawa. "It is not enough for people to say that they want elections tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We must first complete these tasks and afterwards we can prepare for elections."

But the opposition, operating under an umbrella group and the slogan "peace without democracy is a fantasy", contends that two years after the war, President Dos Santos'...

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