"We are starting a very important act for the Angolan diaspora, namely for Angolans who are living in Portugal. It is the first time that Angolans in the diaspora vote to elect their representatives", said the ambassador, Carlos Alberto Fonseca.
The Consul General of Angola in Lisbon, Vicência de Brito, said it was a "historic" act and appealed to all those who participated in the event - representatives of Angolan parties, associations of the Angolan community and religious denominations that deal with the community - so that they are "activists to mobilize" the Angolan communities residing in Portugal to register.
The ambassador also left "an appeal and a message (...) to all Angolans who are in Portugal" to participate in the official electoral registration, which runs until 31 March, in order to vote in the general elections in Angola, which are planned for this year.
According to Carlos Alberto Fonseca, the vote of Angolans in the diaspora results from a promise that President João Lourenço made two years ago and also from the desire of Angolans living abroad, a desire that "since the country exists, it has never been possible to fulfill".
The ambassador estimated that, of the approximately 80,000 Angolans registered in Portugal, around 30,000 citizens of voting age will register at the consulate in Lisbon and that 3,000 will do so at the consulate in Porto.
The Angolan Deputy Consul for Communities, Carlos Santos, explained that to carry out their electoral registration, citizens only need their Identity Card, which does not need to be updated, it may even be expired.
At the Lisbon consulate, the electoral registration process will take place between today and March 31, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm on weekdays and on Saturdays until 12 pm and will be "very versatile", said the official, explaining that, depending on demand , the consulate may allow citizens to register for voters while awaiting other procedures at the consulate.
After the electoral registration of the ambassador and the consul general, the process continued at the Angolan consulate, with the registration of the diplomatic corps, guests and Angolan citizens who wanted to do so on the first day.
It was with "proud" that Rosa de Almeida, who has been in Portugal for 20 years, registered in the morning. Former diplomat and currently retired, Rosa de Almeida says that she has always fulfilled her "patriotic duty" to vote, traveling to Angola when there were elections, but is now able to vote in Lisbon and believes that many will do so like her.
An employee at the Angolan consulate, José Rodrigues has lived in Portugal for two decades and has never been able to vote. With proof of his voter registration in hand, he said he was "welcome" to the start of the process and was happy to be ready to vote in the next general election.
The Official Electoral Registration, aimed at citizens over 18 years of age, began in Angola on national territory and extended to the rest of the world, with the formal opening ceremony taking place in Cape Town, South Africa.
Data from the Ministry of Territory Administration (MAT) indicate that there are 400,000 Angolans spread across 57 countries, with the support of 76 diplomatic missions, which will have access to the process from January 2022.
General elections in Angola are scheduled for 2022.