FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Angola

By Shrikesh Laxmidas

LISBON Jan 10 (Reuters) – Long-serving Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is expected to confirm later this month that he will lead his MPLA party in a general election in the third quarter of the year.

This is unlikely to dispel intense speculation over a possible future successor to the 69-year-old leader, who is the second longest-serving ruler in Africa after Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

With Dos Santos apparently ready to go ahead with a re-election bid, the focus is on the MPLA’s choice for No. 2 on its candidate list for the election to be announced this month. This may signal the choice of a successor.

Anti-government protests last year showed that Angolan youths, inspired by uprisings in North Africa that toppled several leaders, are ready to take their grievances about human rights, social conditions and high unemployment to the streets.

But Angolan authorities have demonstrated they are willing to respond with force.

On the economic front, technical problems in oil production have led the government to slash its growth estimate for 2011, highlighting the need to diversify the economy.




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