2012 Angolan general election

General elections were held in Angola on 31 August 2012 to elect the President and National Assembly.[1] During campaigning, the opposition UNITA and its offshoot CASA-CE accused and criticised the government of corruption and called for greater transparency; this also led to protests and arrests the day before the election. These were the first elections after the new 2010 constitution was instituted.

2012 Angolan general election
← 2008 31 August 2012 2017 →

All 220 seats in the National Assembly
111 seats needed for a majority
Party Leader % Seats +/–
MPLA José Eduardo dos Santos 71.84 175 -16
UNITA Isaías Samakuva 18.66 32 +16
CASA–CE Abel Chivukuvuku 6.00 8 New
PRS Eduardo Kuangana 1.70 3 -5
FNLA Ngola Kabangu 1.13 2 -1
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Mapa de las elecciones generales de Angola de 2012 - Resultados por distrito.svg
Results by electoral district
President before President after
Dos santos (cropped).JPG José Eduardo dos Santos
José Eduardo dos Santos
Dos santos (cropped).JPG


While UNITA accepted the result of the National Assembly elections in 1992, it rejected that of the presidential elections, alleging fraud. The party then resumed the civil war, though its MPs still took their seats in the National Assembly. As a result, the second round of the presidential elections were not held, nor were the legislative elections due at regular intervals in accordance with the 1992 constitution. The civil war came to an end in 2002, following the death of UNITA's leader Jonas Savimbi in an ambush. The MPLA still refused to hold the second round of the presidential election, but organised legislative elections in 2008. The MPLA's resultant majority allowed it to adopt a new constitution in 2010, abolishing the direct election of the president. The constitution stipulated that legislative elections would be held at intervals of five years and that the leader of the party that received the most votes would become president. The expectation of all parties was that this would lead to the endurance of the dominant party system.[2]

Electoral systemEdit

At the time of the election, the National Assembly had 220 seats, of which 130 were elected from closed lists by proportional representation and the remaining 90 elected in 18 five-seat constituencies.[3] Process required that following the election, the leader of the largest party would become president.[1] Voters had to be at least 18 years old and not have an undischarged bankruptcy or criminal conviction. Candidates had to be at least 35 years old.[3]

The president is elected by first-past-the-post double simultaneous vote for the same term as the assembly, and may serve a maximum of two terms. Each participating party nominates a presidential candidate as top of its list, who must be clearly identified on the ballot paper. The top candidate of the party receiving the most votes is elected president in accordance with the 2010 constitution.[4][5]

Over 10,000 voting centres were opened from 7:00-18:00, while the day was declared a national holiday.


A total of nine parties and coalitions contested the elections, four of which are parties (the MPLA, UNITA, the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the Social Renewal Party);[6] and five of which are coalitions (the United Front for Change of Angola (FUMA), the New Democracy Electoral Union, the People's Party for Development (PAPOD), CASA–CE and the Political Opposition Council (CPO)).[7] CASA-CE is a breakaway from UNITA that was formed after its leader Abel Chivukuvuku lost the UNITA leadership election to Samakuva,[8] and it sought to mobilise voters from inside and outside UNITA against the MPLA.[9]

On 13 June 2012, the MPLA Central Committee designated incumbent President José Eduardo dos Santos as head of the MPLA party list and Manuel Vicente, the Minister of State for Economic Coordination, as the second candidate on the list. Under the constitution, this would result in dos Santos receiving another term as president, with Vicente becoming vice-president.[10]

UNITA criticised the government for corruption and, amongst other reasons, giving the contract to run the election to the Spanish company Indra-Sistemas SA, which also ran the 2008 election and was accused of helping the MPLA win that election.[11] The media were also reported to have been biased in their coverage in favour of the incumbent MPLA. However, UNITA was also expected to gain a larger share of the vote and cut the MPLA's popular vote from the previous election.[12] Other issues centred on greater transparency and a more democratic government.[9]


National police commander General Ambrósio de Lemos said he was ready to ensure that electoral laws were enforced: "We will not tolerate nor allow these elections to be derailed. Citizens must be able to access the polling stations, in accordance with their civil rights, without any problems."[9]

The day before the election, as members of CASA-CE sought to enter the office of the National Electoral Commission (CNE) in order observation rights, police arrested about a dozen party members. Party candidate William Tonet told Reuters that police outside the building that they had fired shots to keep away young party members. However, this was unconfirmed by an unnamed police officer at the Quarta Esquadra police station nearby, though the arrests were affirmed. Tonet added that no injuries occurred.[9] He mentioned that of the 6,850 requestioned accreditions, only 3,000 had been given. However, the CNE had said it approved 97,000 local observers from the nine parties and coalitions that were contesting the election. Luis Ngimbi, the head of a local team of observers, said of the campaign that "while no major incidents were reported, the campaign has been disappointing because of the lack of details of promises."[13]

Samakuva also expressed concern prior to the election about possible irregularities, mainly in regards to the voter roll. He said: "Many Angolans' names don't appear on the voter roll, and in many places the voter roll has not been released. We have come to the conclusion that the National Electoral Commission is not ready. The conditions don't exist to ensure the minimum of an organised, transparent process." He also sought to meet Dos Santos to express the concerns and ask for monitoring accreditation for 2,000 of its party workers.[9]

After Dos Santos, who voted at a school near his official residence, said: "I am satisfied because the process is going smoothly throughout the country. I urge all Angolans to vote, to vote for democracy, which is important," he said. "Today people have power in their hands, and it's a great responsibility." This was the first direct vote on his presidency.[13]

The African Union claimed that the elections had been "free, fair, transparent and credible", but noted that opposition parties had not been given equal access to the media.[14] UNITA announced that they would appeal the results of the election, claiming that the results announced by the National Election Commission did not match their counts at polling stations.[15] CASA-CE took the same position.[16]


PartyPresidential candidateVotes%Seats+/–
MPLAJosé Eduardo dos Santos4,135,50371.85175–16
UNITAIsaías Samakuva1,074,56518.6732+16
CASA–CEAbel Chivukuvuku345,5896.008New
Social Renewal PartyEduardo Kuangana98,2331.713–5
National Liberation Front of AngolaLucas Ngonda65,1631.132–1
New Democracy Electoral UnionQuintino Moreira13,3370.230–2
People's Party for DevelopmentArtur Quexona Finda8,7100.150New
United Front for Change of AngolaAntónio Muaxicungo8,2600.140New
Political Opposition CouncilAnastácio João Finda6,6440.120New
Valid votes5,756,00493.98
Invalid/blank votes368,6656.02
Total votes6,124,669100.00
Registered voters/turnout9,757,67162.77
Source: National Election Commission

As expected, results vary greatly from one region to another. In Luanda Province and Cabinda Province, UNITA and CASA–CE together received about 40% of the vote, compared to 25% nationally. Another feature is the high abstention rate, of 37.2%, compared to 12.5% in the 1992 elections.


Dos Santos was sworn in for a five-year term as President, with Vicente as Vice-President, on 26 September 2012.[17] A day later, on 27 September 2012, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos was elected as President of the National Assembly.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Angolan anti-government rappers attacked". BBC News. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  2. ^ "2012 • Transformationsindex". Bti-project.org. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b "ANGOLA (Assembleia nacional): Electoral system". Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Angola's Constitution of 2010" (PDF). Oxford Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press). 6 June 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Constituição da Républica de Angola" (PDF) (in Portuguese). World Intellectual Property Organisation. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Angola approves 9 parties for elections". Portal To Africa. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Angola: Political Parties Told to Produce Realistic Governing Proposals". allAfrica.com. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  8. ^ "IFES Election Guide - Election Profile for Angola". Electionguide.org. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Opposition frets as Angolans head to polls". Al Jazeera English. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  10. ^ "President Eduardo dos Santos leads party's list". Angola Press Agency. 13 June 2012. Archived from the original on 29 December 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Angola's poll 'cooked from the start'". IOL.co.za. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  12. ^ Barnaby Phillips. "Angola's brush with hope and despair - Features". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Polls close for Angola parliamentary election". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  14. ^ Angola election judged 'free and fair' by African Union BBC News, 2 September 2012
  15. ^ Angola's Unita party to appeal Dos Santos election win AGI, 2 September 2012
  16. ^ UNITA garante ter provas de fraude nas eleições em Angola Archived 2012-09-03 at the Wayback Machine, Público, 2 September 2012
  17. ^ Shrikesh Laxmidas, "Angola's Dos Santos sworn in, pledging social improvements", Reuters, 26 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos elected Speaker of National Assembly", Angola Press Agency, 27 September 2012.