Angola. According to a constitutional amendment adopted
by Parliament in January, Angola's president is no longer to
be elected by universal suffrage. Instead, the leader of the
party that has a majority in parliament should be head of
state. The constitutional amendment also abolished the post
of prime minister. The opposition party UNITA boycotted the
vote on the grounds that the change in law weakens
Angola has a population of 30.81 million (2018). The constitutional change was implemented a few months
earlier than most expected, amid Angola hosting the African
football championship. There were suspicions that the
government was rushing through the decision to avoid a wide
debate while the nation's focus was on the football
The races gave bad publicity to Angola when two members
of Togo's national team squad and their Angolan driver were
killed in a fire attack on their bus in the enclave Cabinda.
Two factions of a separatist organization claimed to have
been behind the attack but claimed the attack had been made
by mistake and intended to target Angolan security forces.
Later in the year, five human rights activists were
sentenced to prison for up to six years for "crimes against
the state". They had been arrested shortly after the attack
on the bus and their case was linked to the attack, although
this was not explicitly stated in the verdict.
President Josť Eduardo dos Santos carried out a major
government reform in October. He also appointed a new chief
of defense, a former general of the former UNITA rebel army.
The measures were considered aimed at strengthening the MPLA
government party ahead of the 2012 parliamentary elections,
after which dos Santos may receive an extended mandate.