, LUANDA, Feb 3 – Angola’s three largest opposition parties have threatened to boycott elections this year if the controversial head of the National Electoral Commission (CNE) is not replaced.
The parties say the re-appointment of Suzana Ingles, a lawyer, judge and member of the ruling MPLA’s women’s league, was illegal under a new constitution that requires the post go to an independent figure.
“If the MPLA doesn’t change its stance of imposing (this appointment), the three largest opposition parties in parliament are going to boycott the 2012 elections,” opposition FNLA vice president Niny Asini said.
The elections, expected around September, will be only the third since oil-rich Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
The head of state will be chosen from the top of the winning party list, with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in power since 1979, expected to win another term easily. The MPLA took 81 percent of the vote at the last polls, in 2008.
Opposition lawmakers walked out of the National Assembly last week to protest parliament’s decision to ratify the re-appointment of Ingles, the election commission’s head since September 2010.
The three largest opposition parties — Unita, FNLA and PRS — threatened in a press conference Thursday to pull out of the polls if she was not replaced.
“We’re not going to accept a CNE president who is at the same time a lawyer, judge and member of an organisation of the party in power. What credibility will the elections that the CNE is meant to supervise have?” said Raul Danda, Unita’s parliamentary leader.