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Will Luanda Vote for Change?

Millions of Angolans will vote this week in a landmark election described as an “existential moment” for the key oil-rich central African state, and a test for democracy across a swath of the continent. The poll on Wednesday pits veteran politicians against a generation of young voters just beginning to grasp that they can bring about a radical change and escape from the shadow of the cold war. Observers say discontent with the rule of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), in power since Angola declared independence from Portugal in 1975, has reached a point where the party will only now secure another five years in power through rigging and repression. “It is an existential election, and it is going to be very tight race. If there were free and fair elections, there is no doubt the opposition would win but the government is not going to allow that,” said Paula Cristina Roque, an independent analyst and author.