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Angola, Government

Under a constitution promulgated in 1975 and subsequently amended, Angola was, until the early 1990s, a single-party republic governed by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola-Labor Party (Movimento Popular de Libertacao de Angola-Partido de Trabalho), generally referred to as the MPLA. Legislative powers were nominally exercised by the indirectly elected National People’s Assembly, but the MPLA was the government’s major policymaking body, and its chairman served as president of the republic.

Under a 1991 peace accord between the MPLA and the guerrilla organization opposing the government, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola, or UNITA), Angola held its first multiparty elections for president and for a new 220-seat parliament in September 1992. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the MPLA incumbent, was reelected president. The MPLA took 129 of the legislature’s seats, while UNITA took 70. However, UNITA rejected the results of the election, and a scheduled runoff was delayed indefinitely. UNITA resumed its war against the government until 1994, when another peace agreement outlined a power-sharing arrangement between the two parties. After several delays, MPLA and members of UNITA formed a coalition government in April 1997.

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