Angola awaits successor to long-ruling leader Dos Santos
Angola is expected to formally announce the end of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos' controversial 37-year rule Saturday, and name a successor to lead the ailing African oil-producing country.
News of the veteran leader's impending retirement, announced on state radio on December 2, has made front page news in Angolan newspapers all week. But the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), in power since 1975, has officially remained silent on the matter. On Saturday, on the 60th anniversary of its founding, the party is expected to confirm that Dos Santos, 74, will not seek another term as president in the 2017 party elections.
It will also likely announce that he will be succeeded as head of the party by his current defence minister, Joao Lourenco, 62. Angola does not directly elect a president, but rather the leader of the winning party automatically becomes head of state. In all likelihood, the retired general Lourenco will succeed Dos Santos -– one of the longest ruling leaders in Africa -– after the party elections next August. The departure, announced in a closed-door meeting of the MPLA's central committee last week, does not come as a complete surprise. Dos Santos himself announced in March his intention to end his political career.