LUANDA, April 26 Angolan President Jose Eduardo
dos Santos has signed a decree setting August 23 as the date for
general elections, state radio reported on Wednesday.
Dos Santos, 74, is to step down after 38 years at the helm
of a country that has become Africa's No. 2 crude producer and
third largest economy, but will retain sweeping powers as
president of the ruling MPLA party after the poll.
The decree confirmed the date tentatively set on Monday by
Angola's Council of the Republic, a presidential group that
consults on national decisions.
The MPLA, in power since independence in 1975, chose Defence
Minister Joao Lourenco, 63, as its presidential candidate in
Dos Santos is a communist-trained oil engineer and veteran
of the guerrilla war against Portuguese rule.
Under his tight control, Angola has seen an oil-backed
economic boom and the reconstruction of infrastructure
devastated by a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.
Despite its oil wealth, most of Angola's 22 million people
live in grinding poverty and have become increasingly frustrated
in recent years as low crude prices hammered growth.
(Reporting by Herculano Coroado; Writing by Ed Stoddard;
Editing by James Macharia and Andrew Roche)