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Volume Two Winter 2000-Spring 2001 Numbers 3-4.
DEMOCRATIZATION IN ANGOLA: INFERTILE SOIL
Mohamed A. El-Khawas
Department of History and Political Science
University of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20008
Published Online February 15, 2017
In 1975, Angola’s liberation movements formed a transitional government and agreed to hold elections in preparation for independence. Their subsequent failure to work together turned the internal power struggle into a proxy war between the East and the West. However, when the Cold War ended in the late 1980s, the superpowers pressured the MPLA-led government and the rebels (UNITA) to seek a peaceful solution. It was only after the warring parties realized that they could not score a decisive military victory did they accept a political solution. The Bicesse Accord (May 1991), which marked the beginning of the democratization process, opened a new chapter in the country’s internal struggle. It led to maneuvering over the election procedures and demobilization of troops. Internationally supervised multi-party elections finally occurred in September 1992, but they brought neither democracy nor peace. The UNITA’s Jonas Savimbi refused to accept his electoral defeat. Attempts at power sharing did not persuade him to demobilize his forces and to relinquish control over territory. He instead took the country back to war and ended the experiment with democracy.