Angolans may soon vote from overseas

  • Angolan Parliament has received first Constitutional Review proposal
Luanda - Until now, banned from all electoral acts, Angolan communities abroad are now at the center of the constitutional changes that President João Lourenço has just proposed to the National Assembly.

Among other measures, it is proposed to extend the right to vote to the entire Angolan community abroad, without exception, putting an end to several years of “exclusion” from the exercise of this civic duty/right.

 

It is a decision that demystifies the indifference of the electoral system in force in regard to voting abroad.

 

If the current Constitution does not allow any possibility of voting abroad, at least the previous one did [the Constitutional Law of 1992].

 

Even so, this prediction was never materialized, until its annulment with the approval of the current Constitution.

 

The main reason invoked for this exclusion was always, invariably, the lack of logistical conditions to carry out the electoral registration abroad.

 

Meanwhile, the new proposal - which surprised everyone, mainly because it seemed unimaginable, at least in the current legislature – is intended to enshrine the right to vote "to all Angolan citizens regardless of whether or not they reside in national territory", with residents abroad subject to a specific voter registration, before each election.

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX) estimates the number of nationals living abroad to be around 400.000, mostly in Africa, where Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Namibia concentrate the largest number, with around 70,000 to 80.000 people, followed by South Africa, with approximately 20.000.

 

Altogether, Africa welcomes 230.000 Angolan citizens, followed by Europe, with 95.000 migrants, of which 50.000 in Portugal, 20.000 in France and the rest in the other countries of Europe.

 

According to MIREX data, the American continent is home to 45,000 Angolans, mostly in Brazil and the United States, each with around 20,000, while 30,000 are split in Asia, half of which in China.

 

In addition to the issue of including the emigrant population in the national electoral system, there are also gaps, identified in the Constitution, in relation to other areas of the country's political, economic and social life, as well as from the point of view of technical rigour.

 

These situations are described as a clear recommendation to make specific changes, aiming to adapt the fundamental law to the current context of the country and to adjust and improve some matters dealt with but still showing “insufficiencies”.

Thus, the bases are laid for the first major revision of the 2010 Constitution (CRA), after 11 years in force, and the fourth in the history of independent Angola, after those of 1978, 1991 and 1992.

 

To remind the readers that in November 2018, a year after the beginning of his mandate, João Lourenço admitted, in Lisbon, at a meeting with representatives of the Angolan community residing in Portugal, that it was possible to find a solution to the problem of unavailability of voting abroad.

Among other measures, it is proposed to extend the right to vote to the entire Angolan community abroad, without exception, putting an end to several years of “exclusion” from the exercise of this civic duty/right.

 

It is a decision that demystifies the indifference of the electoral system in force in regard to voting abroad.

 

If the current Constitution does not allow any possibility of voting abroad, at least the previous one did [the Constitutional Law of 1992].

 

Even so, this prediction was never materialized, until its annulment with the approval of the current Constitution.

 

The main reason invoked for this exclusion was always, invariably, the lack of logistical conditions to carry out the electoral registration abroad.

 

Meanwhile, the new proposal - which surprised everyone, mainly because it seemed unimaginable, at least in the current legislature – is intended to enshrine the right to vote "to all Angolan citizens regardless of whether or not they reside in national territory", with residents abroad subject to a specific voter registration, before each election.

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX) estimates the number of nationals living abroad to be around 400.000, mostly in Africa, where Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Namibia concentrate the largest number, with around 70,000 to 80.000 people, followed by South Africa, with approximately 20.000.

 

Altogether, Africa welcomes 230.000 Angolan citizens, followed by Europe, with 95.000 migrants, of which 50.000 in Portugal, 20.000 in France and the rest in the other countries of Europe.

 

According to MIREX data, the American continent is home to 45,000 Angolans, mostly in Brazil and the United States, each with around 20,000, while 30,000 are split in Asia, half of which in China.

 

In addition to the issue of including the emigrant population in the national electoral system, there are also gaps, identified in the Constitution, in relation to other areas of the country's political, economic and social life, as well as from the point of view of technical rigour.

 

These situations are described as a clear recommendation to make specific changes, aiming to adapt the fundamental law to the current context of the country and to adjust and improve some matters dealt with but still showing “insufficiencies”.

Thus, the bases are laid for the first major revision of the 2010 Constitution (CRA), after 11 years in force, and the fourth in the history of independent Angola, after those of 1978, 1991 and 1992.

 

To remind the readers that in November 2018, a year after the beginning of his mandate, João Lourenço admitted, in Lisbon, at a meeting with representatives of the Angolan community residing in Portugal, that it was possible to find a solution to the problem of unavailability of voting abroad.