José Eduardo dos Santos

José Eduardo dos Santos

Infobox President
name = José Eduardo dos Santos

order = President of Angola
primeminister = Fernando José de França Dias Van-Dúnem
Marcolino Moco
Fernando José de França Dias Van-Dúnem
Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos
Paulo Kassoma
term_start = 10 September 1979
term_end =
predecessor = Agostinho Neto
successor =
birth_date = Birth date and age|1942|08|28|df=yes
birth_place = Luanda, Angola
spouse = Ana Paula dos Santos
party = Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola

José Eduardo dos Santos (born August 28, 1942 [ Biography at MPLA website] pt icon.] ) is the current President of Angola, having served in that position since 1979. He is also the President of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

Dos Santos was born in Luanda. [In [ "Ethnicity and conflict in Angola: prospects for reconciliation"] Assis Malaquias suggests the possibility that dos Santos was born in São Tomé instead of Luanda] Eduardo's father was a construction worker from São Tomé and Príncipe. While he was studying in school, he joined the MPLA in 1956 thereby starting his political career. Due to the repression of the colonial government, Dos Santos went into self-exile in France in 1961. He later moved to the Republic of the Congo. From there he collaborated with the MPLA, and soon became the vice-president. To continue with his education, he moved, once again, to the former USSR, where he received an engineering degree from the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute.

In 1970 he returned to Angola and joined the EPLA (Exército Popular de Libertação de Angola), a branch of the MPLA, becoming a radio transmitter in the second political-military region of the MPLA. In 1974, he was promoted to sub commander of the telecoms service of the second region. He served as the MPLA's representative to Yugoslavia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the People's Republic of China before being elected to the Central Committeecite book|last=Louis Gates|first=Henry|coauthors=Anthony Appiah|year=1999|title=Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience|pages=624] and Politburo of the MPLA in September 1974.

In June 1975, dos Santos became coordinator of the MPLA's Department of Foreign Affairs; he also coordinated the MPLA's Department of Health at this time. Upon Angolan independence in November 1975, the MPLA held power in Luanda, but the new MPLA government faced a civil war with the rebel groups UNITA and FNLA; the civil war continued for most of the period until 2002. Dos Santos was appointed as Angola's first Minister of Foreign Affairs upon independence, and in this capacity he played a key role in obtaining diplomatic recognition for the MPLA government in 1975–76. At the MPLA's First Congress in December 1977, dos Santos was re-elected to the Central Committee and Politburo. In December 1978, he was moved from the post of First Deputy Prime Minister in the government to that of Minister of Planning.

After the death of Angola's first president, Agostinho Neto, on September 10, 1979, dos Santos was elected as President of the MPLA on September 20, 1979, and he took office as President of Angola, President of the MPLA, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on September 21. He was also elected as President of the People's Assembly on November 9, 1980.

On 29 September and 30 September of 1992, elections occurred in Angola. Dos Santos beat Dr. Jonas Savimbi (49.5% vs. 40.7%), but since no candidate had achieved the required 50% of the votes on the first round, a second round of voting was called. Savimbi then quit, alleging voting fraud. Foreign observers and the UN declared the election inconclusive. In parliamentary elections, the MPLA won 54.7% of the vote, with 129 out of 220 seats in parliament. UNITA managed 34.1%, giving them 70 seats.

Savimbi's withdrawal from the second round of elections gave dos Santos much needed foreign support. The United States recognized Angola in 1993. Dos Santos, now rejecting negotiated peace, began fierce military actions against UNITA.

In 1999, dos Santos gained greater power from the Angolan parliament by becoming Secretary of Defense.

In February 2002 the leader of UNITA, Jonas Savimbi, was killed by FAA (Forças Armadas Angolanas - Angolan Armed Forces) troops. The already weakened UNITA surrendered and signed a peace treaty a few weeks later, ending the Angolan Civil War.

In this short period of peace, dos Santos has signed important contracts with corporations interested in extracting oil and diamonds, controlled high inflation, and raised economic growth to an estimated 24%. Despite these economic advances, dos Santos failed to combat governmental corruption, reconstruct public infrastructure, draft a new constitution, or reduce control over the press. Although Angola's natural resources are among the world's richest, the UN Development Program considers Angola one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. [ [ "UN Development Report 2006"] , UNDP.] The Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2005 ranked Angola 38.1 on its "rule of law, transparency, and corruption" scale and 38.3 on its "human development" scale, out of a possible 100 points (on each scale, higher scores represent better results). This has placed Angola in the bottom 10 among African countries in both indices since 2000, when the ranking began. [ [ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation Rankings"] ]

Dos Santos announced in 2001 that he would step down at the next presidential election. [ [ "Dos Santos to bow out"] , IRIN, August 24, 2001.] However, in December 2003 he was reelected as head of the MPLA, [ [ "Dos Santos at the helm"] , IRIN, December 17, 2003.] and it is widely believed that he will be the party's candidate in the next presidential election. It was thought that this might be held in 2006, [ [ "Uncertainty increases over election date"] , IRIN, February 16, 2006.] and then that it might occur in 2007, but in December 2006 it was announced that the next presidential election would be held in 2009. [ [ "New delay for Angolan elections"] , BBC News, December 21, 2006.]

In November 2006, dos Santos helped to found the African Countries Diamond Producers Association, an organization of approximately 20 African nations founded to promote market cooperation and foreign investment in the African diamond industry. [ [ "Angola: African Diamond Producing Countries Ministers Meet"] ANGOP, 4 November, 2006.]

Dos Santos was the top candidate on the MPLA's national list in the September 2008 parliamentary election. [ [ "Eleições: Lista integral dos candidatos do MPLA, antigo PM Marcolino Moco fora, nova cara Akwá"] , Angola Xyami, July 5, 2008 pt icon.] [ List of deputies elected in the 2008 election] , CNE website pt icon.] The MPLA won an overwhelming majority of seats in this election.

José Eduardo dos Santos is an Honorary Member of [ The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation] .


ee also

*List of current Angolan ministers

External links

* [ Page of research on the criminal activities of Mr.José Eduardo dos Santos]
* [ Official webpage of MPLA]

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