Angola opposition says campaign money too little
7/14/2012 7:20:03 PM -
LUANDA (AFP) - Angolan opposition parties complained on Saturday that official campaign funding ahead of an election to be held late next month is not enough.
Nine parties have been approved to take part in August 31 polls in Africa's second oil producer after Nigeria.
Every party running will receive 78.5 million kwanzas ($825,000, 674,000 euro) for campaigning, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos announced in a decree Thursday seen by AFP.
This is 30 percent less than the amount in 2008 elections.
Opposition party Unita said the amount was not enough to campaign in the vast country in a shortened election campaign period.
"It is a ridiculous amount, for the dimensions of a party like ours, which has a national social project, and for the needs of any political party," spokesman Alcides Sakala told AFP.
Meanwhile, New Democracy spokesman Alex Eduardo called on Dos Santos to review his decree in the interest of democracy.
The ruling party MPLA rejected the complaints. Political and economic secretary Norberto Garcia told AFP that all parties have "the same starting line in terms of financial conditions for the next elections".
Dos Santos, Africa's second-longest ruling leader after 33 years in power, had long delayed announcing an election date, and opposition parties have said this left them too little time to prepare for the polls.
Before the previous vote in 2008, when Dos Santos' MPLA won 80 percent, opposition parties complained the MPLA had an unfair advantage with large resources and access to state funds as the ruling party.
The MPLA is widely expected to win the upcoming vote.