Angolan elections delay

LUANDA - A senior Angolan advisory group has proposed holding elections in 2008 and 2009, pushing back by more than a year the oil-rich country's first elections since 1992, officials and state media said yesterday.

LUANDA - A senior Angolan advisory group has proposed holding elections in 2008 and 2009, pushing back by more than a year the oil-rich country's first elections since 1992, officials and state media said yesterday.

The state-run Angop news agency said the Council of the Republic, a body chaired by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, pictured left, had unanimously advised that legislative and presidential elections be held separately, the former in 2008 and the latter in 2009.

"The legislative election should take place in 2008, between May and August, and the presidential poll should be held in the following year in the same period," council spokesman Augusto Carneiro told the agency.

A senior official said the council's suggestion would be forwarded to the cabinet, which was almost certain to endorse it.

"It's a proposal, not a final decision. The government needs to work to create the conditions for the elections to take place on these dates," the official said, adding that the eventual date for the long-awaited elections could be even later.

"They could be in 2010 or 2012," the official said.

Angop said the decision to push the elections back was taken in part because of Angola's long voter registration period, which is not expected to end until June.

Angola, sub-Saharan Africa's second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, has been stable since the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002. - Reuters

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