I-MAG STS - Angola
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Nothing is ever simple in Africa – or probably anywhere else. Portuguese mariners reached present-day Angola in the late 15th century. We’ll fast forward about 500 years to the founding of the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) in 1956. A competitor, the FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola) was founded in 1961 and guerilla warfare started against each other and against Portugal. UNITA (National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola) was founded in 1966. After 14 years of intermittent fighting the situation changed dramatically when there was a coup in Portugal. Angola became independent late in 1975. Unfortunately, fighting continued in varying intensities and configurations for 27 years. At different times the United States, South Africa and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Algeria, West Germany (back then), France, Ghana, Israel, Romania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, North Korea (later switched to MPLA) and China supported FNLA and UNITA. Russia and Cuba supported the MPLA. The numbers were dreadful: probably 600,000 Portuguese, the bulk of the government, farmers, technicians and businesspeople, fled, taking skills and money with them. Angolan lives were evidently not considered to be worth much as there was no attempt to count how many were lost: three million is a fair guess. Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA, was killed in 2002, which more or less led to a ceasefire. In the 2008 Angolan parliamentary election of 2008 with ten parties and four coalitions the FNLA received 1.11% of the vote, winning three out of 220 legislative seats. In those elections MPLA obtained 81.64% of the vote (191 seats), UNITA 10.39% (16 seats), PRS 3.17% (8 seats) and ND with 1.20% (2 seats). Suffice to say the 2008 election did not receive high marks for accuracy and integrity. There are supposed to be elections this year. Update: Jose Eduardo Dos Santos (MPLA) stepped down in 2017. João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço (born 5 March 1954) is an Angolan politician who has served as the 3rd president of Angola since 26 September 2017. Previously, he was Minister of Defence from 2014 to 2017. In September 2018, he became the Chairman of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the ruling party. He was the party's Secretary-General from 1998 to 2003. His predecessor José Eduardo dos Santos (28 August 1942 – 8 July 2022) was the president of Angola from 1979 to 2017. MPLA holds 124 of 220 legislative seats.