The 2022 general election has been deemed the most competitive because many citizens that will vote for the first time were born in a post-conflict period.
On Wednesday, 14.3 Angolans are expected to head to polling stations to elect their new president and lawmakers. Seven political parties and a coalition are contesting the elections as they vie for 220 seats in the National Assembly.
Out of the 220 seats, 130 are elected from the national lists of the parties, and the remaining 90 are elected based on provincial lists, with each of the 18 provinces in the country electing five lawmakers.
Incumbent President Joao Lourenco of the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), who is seeking a second term in office, will mainly face a challenge from Adalberto Costa Junior, leader of the country's largest opposition, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The MPLA had won all the previous elections held in 1992, 2008, 2012 and 2017, respectively.
MPLA leader Joao Lourenco on Wednesday voted at Polling Station 105 in the urban district of Ingombota in Luanda downtown, while UNITA leader Adalberto Costa voted at Polling Station 805, also located in the urban district of Nova Vida, Luanda.
The election this year will also include the participation of overseas voters, with some 22,560 citizens expected to vote from abroad. The expansion of voting rights to the diaspora, who are voting for the first time, also feeds into expectations of greater competitiveness.
The 2022 general election has been deemed the most competitive because many citizens that will vote for the first time were born in a post-conflict period. This is also the first time the largest opposition party UNITA is seeing good chances in the elections because most of the young people have called for change, as they cry for job opportunities and improvement in their living conditions.
The president is not directly elected. In accordance with the Angolan constitution, the top candidate of a political party that wins the most votes is elected as president. The president is elected for the same term as members of the National Assembly and may serve a maximum of two terms. Each participating party nominates a presidential candidate at top of its list, who must be clearly identified on the ballot paper.
The other six parties contesting the election are the National Front for the Liberation of Angola, the Nationalist Party for Justice in Angola, the Humanist Party of Angola, the Social Renewal Party, the National Patriotic Alliance and the Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola-Electoral Coalition.