The Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center hosted a briefing and roundtable discussion today with the leadership of Angola’s largest opposition political party, the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA).

UNITA fought a fourteen-year war for independence from Portugal alongside Angola’s current ruling party, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola–Partido do Trabalho (MPLA), and then fought against the MPLA during Angola’s twenty-six year civil war. Since the death of UNITA’s founder and longtime leader, Jonas Savimbi, in 2002, UNITA has participated in electoral politics and is currently Angola’s largest opposition party, having won 32 of 223 seats in the 2012 legislative elections.

Briefing participants at the event, moderated by Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham, were Isaías Samakuva, president of UNITA; Raul Danda, minority leader in the parliament; Alcides Sakala Simões, UNITA secretary for external relations; and Silva Claudio, UNITA representative on Angola’s National Electoral Commission.

The delegation discussed the current political dynamics in Angola, prospects for local elections currently scheduled for 2015, and the role of that China, the United States, and other foreign countries as well as private-sector investors play in Angolan affairs.

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