Angola's Supreme Court sends electoral boss packingBy ARNALDO VIEIRA in Luanda | Friday, May 18 2012 at 11:05
Angola's Supreme Court Thursday quashed the appointment of the country's electoral body boss in a surprising decision ahead of September elections.
The opposition had filed a suit claiming the controversial January appointment of the politically-connected Ms Suzana Inglês was unconstitutional.
Ms Inglês is a lawyer and former women league leader of the ruling MPLA party which has been in power since 1979.
" [The] Angolan Supreme Court annuls the Higher Council of the Judicial Magistracy deliberation which appoints Suzana Inglês as National Electoral Commission (CNE) boss,” the statement from the court read in part.
According to article 143 of Angola's electoral law, the chairperson of the country's electoral body can only be a magistrate.
Her swearing in was largely boycotted by the country's weak opposition who moved to court to challenge the appointment.
Legislators from the main opposition party Unita, the National Front for the Angolan Liberation (FNLA) and the Social Renovation Party (PRS) have strongly opposed Ms Inglês’ appointment to preside over this year’s general election.
The opposition and civil society hailed the ruling.
Democratic Bloc party (BD) spokesman Filomeno Vieira Lopes welcomed the move and called for the newly released computerised voters' register to be rejected as well since Ms Inglês had also presided over it. (Read: Angola says 9.8m-strong voter list ready)
"If Ms Inglês appointment as the country’s National Electoral Commissioner is annulled then the computerised voter list must be annulled as well,” he said.
Political analyst Dr Raul Araujo, who is the Dean of the School of Law at Agostinho Neto University, said that for once the Angolan Supreme Court had exercised its legal and constitutional mandate.
"In Angola political power and judicial power need to be separated contrary to divergent opinions," he said.
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