Electoral Politics and Political Transition in Post-War Angola: Progress, Problems and Prospects

The southern African nation of Angola was included in the third wave of
democratisation which began rolling over the African continent in the late
1980s. Structural political and economic reforms, including multiparty
elections, were introduced in Angola as part of a peace settlement designed
to set the country on a path to effective democratisation. However, the
resumption of the armed conflict in the aftermath of the country’s founding
elections in 1992 blocked Angola’s transition towards the consolidation of a
multiparty democratic dispensation. The end of the civil war in 2002 renewed
hopes for normal democratic development through a return to electoral
politics. Building on the conception of elections as both instruments of
democracy and tools of authoritarian rule, this article examines the progress,
problems and prospects for democratisation brought about by the resumption
of electoral politics in post-war Angola. The analysis of the evidence gathered
from qualitative secondary sources suggests that, since the end of the war
in 2002, Angola has seen the establishment of electoral hegemony. The
MPLA has total dominance of not only the electoral process – its rules, their
implementation and adjudication – but also of electoral results, allowing the
winner to rule unchallenged. This has subsequently been used to engender
other types of political domination, including constitutional and central
government hegemony, thus ensuring regime entrenchment.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: democratisation, elections, electoral authoritarianism in Africa, electoral politics, post-war Angola
journal of african elections vol18 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa