News24

Angolan election commission head removed

2012-05-18 12:40

Luanda - An Angolan court on Thursday reversed the appointment of the election commission head, linked to the ruling party, because she did not qualify for the post, opposition parties said.

The parties had petitioned the court on Suzana Ingles' appointment as head of the National Electoral Commission (CNE).

"The Supreme Court found that our complaint was justified and that the nomination of Suzana Inglese was illegal," main opposition Unita MP Clarisse Kaputu told AFP.

"In fact Ms Ingles is not a judge while it's one of the conditions as required by law to take over leadership of the CNE," she said.

Unita launched the complaint together with the Party for Social Renovation (PRS) when Ingles, a lawyer, was appointed CNE chairperson in January ahead of new elections in September.

She is seen to be close to Jose Dos Santos, Africa's longest-ruling leader at 33 years in power.

The court "decision shows that it is fundamental that the organs of State, like the party in power, respect the law", said Eduardo Kuangana, PRS president.

The leader of another small opposition party shared this view.

"With this decision, the Supreme Court cancels not only Suzana Ingles' nomination but also the process which led to her nomination. There will be a new election [for a CNE leader]," said Filomeno Viera Lopes, whose Democratic Block laid a separate complaint against Ingles' appointment.

The ruling came just two days before Unita's planned pro-democracy march, which it says will go ahead on Saturday.

Opposition groups and civil society have called for free and fair polls in only the third elections since the country's independence from Portugal in 1975.

Dos Santos' Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) took 81% in the previous vote in 2008.

The leader of the party that wins the elections becomes the nation's new president by law.