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Angola changed from a one-party Marxist-Leninist system ruled by the MPLA to a nominal multi party democracy following the 1992 elections, in which President dos Santos won the first-round election with more than 49% of the vote to Jonas Savimbi's 40%; a runoff never took place. The Constitutional Law of 1992 establishes the broad outlines of government structure and delineates the rights and duties of citizens. The government is based on ordinances, decrees, and decisions issued by a president and his ministers or through legislation produced by the National Assembly and approved by the president. The parliament is generally subordinate to the executive. Few opportunities exist for opposition parties to challenge MPLA dominance. President dos Santos has announced that parliamentary elections will be held on September 5, 2008 and has proposed that general elections be held in 2009.

The Judicial System

The judicial system includes municipals and provincial courts at the trial level and a Supreme Court at the appellate level. The Ministry of Justice administers provincial courts located in each of the 18 provincials capitals. The Supreme Court nominates provincial judges. In 1991, the constitution was amended to guarantee an independent judiciary. In practice, however the President appointments the 16 Supreme Courts judges for life upon recommendation of an association of magistrates, and he appoints the attorney general. Confirmation by the General Assembly is not required.

Source: Government of Angola, CIA, Embassy of Angola in Washington, D.C.

Legislative Power of Government

The National Assembly is the highest governmental body in Angola and represents the sovereign will of the Angolan people. It promotes the implementation of goals and objectives of the state, and legislates and makes decisions on basic questions relating to the state. The Assembly's jurisdiction laws, approving laws, and proposing the government, the National Plan and the general state budget. The National Assembly also monitors, at the supreme level the actions of the government and of other government organs. The National Assembly also gives permission to the government contract grants and loans, approves international, grant amnesties and authorizes the President to declare war and make peace. The National Assembly is the legislative branch of the government of Angola, it is an unicameral body, with 220 members: 130 members elected by proportional representation and 90 members elected by provincial districts. Theoretically, the Assembly sits for four-years term, but in reality the last election was held in 1992. The following elections in 1997, was put off indefinitely, although President dos Santos announced the legislative election for September 5, 2008 and Presidential election in 2009.

Executive Power of Government

The executive branch of the government is composed of the President, the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. Currently, political power is concentrated in the presidency. The Council of Ministers, is composed of all government minister and vice minister, meets regularly to discuss policy issues. Governors of the 18 provinces appointed by the President. The Constitutional Law of 1992 established the broad outlines of government structure and delineates the right and duties of the citizens. The legal system is based on the Portuguese customary law but is wean and fragmented, in addition limited number of counts function outside of the province on Luanda. The Supreme Court serves as the appellate tribunal, a Constitutional Court with judiciary review power was never established despite the statutory authorization.


For more information, please contact Maria da Cruz Gabriel at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 202.857.0789.


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