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Opposition divided on constitutional revision. MPLA praises "absence of vote against"

Angolan opposition deputies were "divided" over the socio-political and economic impact of the constitutional review on the country, while the MPLA lauded the "conciliation with UNITA" that "restrained" the "traditional and irritating vote against".

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The draft constitutional revision law was approved by the parliament with 152 votes in favor of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and some MPs in the opposition, no vote against and 56 abstentions from the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola ( UNITA) and the Comprehensive Convergence for the Salvation of Angola - Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE).

The legal diploma of legislative initiative of the President of the Republic, João Lourenço, was the only point of the ninth ordinary plenary meeting of the National Assembly, which took place in Luanda.

Deputy Leonel Gomes said, in his explanation of vote, that the "independent" deputies of the CASA-CE parliamentary group abstained because the revision of the Constitution "does not reflect citizenship".

"Despite some advances in the revision of the Constitution, we have once again lost a great and sovereign opportunity to bring to the country the construction of a Constitution of the Republic that reflects citizenship against the excessive partisanship that exists based on partycracy," he said.

For the deputy, Angola "lost the opportunity to incorporate concrete foundations for supervising the acts of the executive", also considering that the "dependence on the courts will continue to be excessive on the part of the President of the Republic".

Lucas Ngonda, deputy and president of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), in opposition, justified the vote in favor of the law "taking into account the progress made and in the sense" of walking "together in the search for solutions for Angola" .

This being the first revision of the magna law, Lucas Ngonda noted, however, that it harbored "the hope of a more comprehensive revision in order to respond to the need to reduce the excessive powers of the President of the Republic".

The Social Renewal Party (PRS), in opposition, voted in favour, explained its president and deputy Benedito Daniel, as it understands that no constitutional revision is devoid of basis and purpose.

According to the social renovators politician, there was "substantial evidence" requested for the decisions incorporated in this review: "We exercise a patriotic vote," he assured.

By the CASA-CE parliamentary group, the abstention was justified by its president, Alexandre Sebastião André, for the "advances, setbacks and even indecisions" reflected in the articles reviewed.

As for the "advances", he pointed out, he recognized "the necessary expansion of the range of voters" which extends to citizens in the diaspora, while "in retreat" he found, "unfortunately, the continuous partisanship of the organs of the State".

For UNITA, Deputy Arlete Chimbinda said that the abstention came because the revision "will not make the Constitution more citizen and more democratic".

"[UNITA] defends the right to vote by all citizens, but the fact that Angolans abroad do not have the opportunity to be elected in a specific constituency for the diaspora also dictated our abstention," she stressed.

The leader of the MPLA parliamentary group, Virgílio de Fontes de Pereira, considered the first partial revision of the Constitution as "historic", an initiative "timely and necessary".

The politician, in his declaration of favorable vote, also praised the "positive attitude" of the UNITA parliamentary group for its "availability to agree on structural issues".

"Achieved, in general, with significant success, materialized here, in the evolution to abstention, moving away from the traditional and irritating vote against", he concluded.

The Constitution of the Republic of Angola (CRA) was approved on February 5, 2010. With this first punctual revision, the CRA will go from 244 to 249 articles.

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