Dos Santos names new cabinet

February 3, 2010 12:00 am

, LUANDA, Feb 3 – Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos unveiled his new cabinet, keeping the oil minister in place but naming a new finance minister in Africa\’s top producer of crude, state media said Wednesday.

The cabinet includes many close political and military allies to Dos Santos, who has ruled for more than 30 years.

The cabinet will take office once Angola\’s new constitution takes effect, probably on Friday, national radio said.

Oil minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos kept his job, but Finance Minister Severim de Morais was replaced by Carlos Alberto Lopes, amid an investigation into a 100 million dollar (72 million euro) embezzlement case at Angola\’s central bank.

Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, former prime minister and the current president of the National Assembly, has been named as vice president, putting him next in line for the presidency should Dos Santos vacate his position.

The current Prime Minister Paulo Kassoma will become president of parliament.

The post of prime minister was eliminated in Angola\’s new constitution, approved by parliament last week.

The document sets out a new system of government in which the leader of the winning party in legislative polls will become the country\’s president.

The Constitutional Court this week sent the charter back to parliament for two changes.

The original version allowed Dos Santos to name his own vice president, but the judges said that post must be filled by the number two person on the party list.

Judges also said the presidential nominee must specifically named on ballot papers.

Parliament is expected to approve the changes later Wednesday, state radio said.

The new constitution means Angola is not likely to hold a national election until 2012, and 67-year-old Dos Santos could extend his time in power for another decade.


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