Angolan President Dos Santos to stand down in 2017

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Jose Eduardo dos Santos (File: AFP)
Jose Eduardo dos Santos (File: AFP)

Luanda - Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in power for 37 years, will stand down before next year's general election, state radio said Friday citing sources in the ruling MPLA party.

National Radio of Angola said that Defence Minister Joao Lourenco would take over as MPLA leader, in news confirmed to AFP by Joao Pinto, a senior member of the party.

"The president will not be a candidate and he already has a successor," Pinto told AFP.

"It will be Joao Lourenco, who will be presented to members of the party on December 10 when we celebrate the party's anniversary."

At a meeting of the MPLA (People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola) on Friday in Luanda, Dos Santos, 74, launched his party's campaign for the election, but declined to say if he would seek a new term.

"Our goal is to win the election," he said. "The key to success will be the discipline and the unity of all our candidates."

He made a surprise announcement in March that he would step down in 2018, but has given no further details about any resignation plan.

Angola does not directly elect a president, but rather the leader of the winning party becomes head of state.

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