Angola's parliament on Friday unanimously adopted a new electoral law addressing opposition concerns over fraud ahead of an election scheduled for 2012.
“The unanimous adoption of this important law will bolster trust at home and abroad that the 2012 vote will be adequately conducted,” Speaker Antonio Paulo Kassoma told AFP after the vote.
“It protects us against the spectre of fraud, which is already rife in Angola's political class,” he said.
President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos's People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) controls 90 percent of parliament.
The three main opposition parties had threatened to boycott the election over the level of control exercised on the polling process by the ruling administration.
The MPLA eventually cut a deal for an amended law creating an electoral commission in which the leaders of all parliamentary groups have a say.
“The new law is an important step towards democracy,” Raul Danda, a senior MP from the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), told AFP.
“With this law, we are going to organise polls that are credible and will be an example for the region and the whole of Africa,” said Danda, whose party fought the MPLA for 27 years in a war that killed half a million people.
The presidential and legislative election is scheduled to take place during the third quarter of next year.
The 2008 parliamentary polls were the first held in the vast oil-rich southern African country since the end of the civil war in 2002.
Dos Santos has been at the helm since 1979, making him the continent's second longest-standing head of state, just behind Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who seized power a month earlier.
Opposition to Dos Santos's rule has gained momentum in recent months, with hundreds of protestors inspired by the Arab Spring defying police bans and crackdowns to demand change. - Sapa-AFP