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Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola - Party of Labour
Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola - Partido do Trabalho
Leader José Eduardo dos Santos
President José Eduardo dos Santos
Founded December, 1956
Headquarters Luanda,Republic of Angola
Youth wing Youth of MPLA
Ideology Socialism
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation Socialist International
Politics of Angola
Political parties

The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola - Party of Labour (Portuguese: Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola - Partido do Trabalho) is an Angolan political party that has ruled the country since independence of the then Portuguese Angola in 1975. The MPLA fought against Portugal in the war for independence from 1961 to 1975 and against UNITA and FNLA in the civil war from 1975 to 2002.



In December 1956, in Portuguese Angola (during the Estado Novo regime) the Angolan Communist Party (PCA) merged with the Party of the United Struggle for Africans in Angola (PLUA) to form the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola with Viriato da Cruz, the President of the PCA, as Secretary General.[1][2] Later other movements merged into MPLA, such as Movement for the National Independence of Angola (MINA) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Angola (FDLA).

The MPLA's core base includes the Mbundu ethnic group and the mixed-race intelligentsia of the capital city, Luanda. It formerly had links to European and Soviet Communist parties but is now a full-member of the Socialist International grouping of social democratic parties.

The armed wing of MPLA was the Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA). The FAPLA later became the national armed forces of the country.

In 1960 it joined with the PAIGC, fraternal party in Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde, to direct combat against the Portuguese empire in Africa. The following year, the expanded umbrella group CONCP replaced FRAIN, adding fellow Marxist-Leninists FRELIMO of Mozambique and the CLSTP, forerunner of the MLSTP of Sao Tome and Principe.

The Carnation Revolution in Lisbon, Portugal in 1974 established a military government that promptly ceased anti-independence fighting in Angola and agreed to hand over power to a coalition of three pro-independence Angolan movements. The coalition quickly broke down and the newly independent Angola broke into a state of civil war.

South Africa intervened militarily in favor of the conservative FNLA and UNITA, Zaire and the United States also heavily aided the two groups. Cuba deployed thousands of troops in 1975 to aid the MPLA, the Soviet Union aided both Cuba and the MPLA government during the war. In November 1980, the MPLA had all but crushed UNITA, and the South African forces withdrew. The United States Congress barred further U.S. military involvement in the country, fearing another Vietnam-style quagmire.

MPLA - Victory is certain

Maintaining control over Luanda and the lucrative oil fields of the Atlantic coastline, the MPLA declared Angola's independence on November 11, 1975, the day the Portuguese abandoned the capital. Poet and freedom fighter Agostinho Neto became the first president upon independence, and he was succeeded by José Eduardo dos Santos in 1979.

In 1976 MPLA adopted Marxism-Leninism as the party ideology. It maintained close ties with the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc, establishing socialist economic policies and a one-party state. Several thousand Cuban troops remained in the country to combat UNITA insurgents and bolster the regime's security.

This led to Civil war with UNITA, which received varying degrees of support from the U.S. and South Africa in the 1980s, continued until 2002, when UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi was killed. The two parties promptly agreed to a ceasefire, and a plan was laid out for UNITA to demobilize and become a political party.

In 1983 the MPLA added Partido do Trabalho (Party of Labour) to its name.

In the 1992 elections MPLA-PT won 53.74% of the votes and 129 out of 227 members of parliament. In the next election, held in 2008 (long delayed due to the civil war), the MPLA won 81.64% of the vote and 191 seats out of 220 seats.[3]

The MPLA-PT is currently a member of the Socialist International.

Major mass organizations of MPLA-PT are Organização da Mulher Angolana (Angolan Women's Organization), União Nacional dos Trabalhadores Angolanos (National Union of Angolan Workers), Organização dos Pioneiros de Agostinho Neto (Organization of Pioneers of Agostinho Neto), and the Juventude do MPLA (Youth of MPLA).

Foreign support

During both the Portuguese Colonial War and the Angolan Civil War, the MPLA received military and humanitarian support primarily from the governments of Algeria, Bulgaria,[4] Cape Verde Islands, Czechoslovakia,[5] the Congo, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, North Korea, the People's Republic of China, Romania, São Tomé and Príncipe,[6] Somalia, the Soviet Union, Sudan,[5] Tanzania, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia. While China did briefly support the MPLA,[7] it actively supported the MPLA's enemies, the anti-Communist FNLA and later UNITA, during the war for independence and the civil war.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ Africa Year Book and Who's who. 1977. pp. 238.  
  2. ^ Tvedten, Inge (1997). Angola: Struggle for Peace and Reconstruction. pp. 29.  
  3. ^ "Angolan ruling party gains about 82% of votes in legislative race", Xinhua, September 17, 2008.
  4. ^ Howe, Herbert M (2004). Ambiguous Order: Military Forces In African States. pp. 81.  
  5. ^ a b Wright, George (1997). The Destruction of a Nation: United States Policy Towards Angola Since 1945. pp. 9–10.  
  6. ^ Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges; Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein (1986). The Crisis in Zaire. pp. 193–194.  
  7. ^ China Study Centre (India) (1964). China Report. pp. 25.  
  8. ^ Walker, John Frederick (2004). A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Giant Sable Antelope of Angola. pp. 146.  
  9. ^ Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges; Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein (1986). The Crisis in Zaire. pp. 194.  

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