After five hours of debate, the proposal for a timely revision of the Constitution of the Republic of Angola was widely adopted by the National Assembly on Thursday after being presented by President João Lourenço in early March.
According to the Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic, Adão de Almeida, the main objective of the resolution is to improve institutional relations between the President of the Republic and the National Assembly by clarifying the instruments of political control.
The proposal also provides for the right to vote for Angolan citizens abroad, to make the National Bank of Angola independent of political power, to end the principle of gradualism in the effective institutionalization of local authorities and to set a fixed date for the elections. Parliamentary elections.
“As the President of the Republic himself took the initiative to examine all the questions raised during his tenure, we understand that he is on the right track,” said Lucas Ngonda, Deputy FNLA.
In general, the parties agreed on the need to revise the country’s constitution. The resolution passed 157 votes and UNITA, the largest Angolan opposition party, abstained.
UNITA’s abstention was due to the fact that the proposal “was not preceded by extensive consultation of society and the most representative political organizations”, according to Parliamentary Chairman Liberty Chiaka. It does acknowledge, however, that the willingness and availability to form a pluralistic nation overrides the interests of groups.
In fact, the main opposition party has already reacted with skepticism to João Lourenço’s proposal, suspecting that the elections could be postponed to “get out of the wave of unpopularity it finds itself in,” he said in a note sent to the public.
Responding to the skepticism, Adão de Almeida rejected the hypothesis of postponing the 2022 general election, stating that the proposal would neither increase the Angolan president’s constitutional powers nor extend his mandate. “The proposal is open, clear and objective and has no intentions other than those contained in the text,” he said.
The Angolan Judges Association was also dissatisfied and opposed the changes related to the judiciary, justifying that the proposal would fragment the courts “as sovereign bodies that will, strictly speaking, affect fragility, as institutions that run the judiciary manage”. Because that would rightly pose a “real threat to the judiciary”.
The resolution has yet to be submitted to the National Assembly’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, which will prepare the Constitutional Review Bill for discussion of the subject and approval in plenary.