AFRICA/ANGOLA - General election: "No to abstention," say the Bishops, the Church participates with its observers

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Luanda (Agenzia Fides) - There will be observers of the Catholic Church to ensure the proper conduct of the general elections on August 31 in Angola. The observer team is coordinated by Fr. Belmiro Tchissengueti, Executive Secretary of the Commission "Justice and Peace". The elections are also indirectly presidential, because according to the new Constitution, the head of the winning party in the parliamentary elections becomes President of the Republic.
In a message, which was sent to Fides, the Angolan Bishops call on the population to vote. "The election of rulers made freely by the people is the true pillar of democracy. Instead, every government that takes office by force or by inheritance only ironically could be called democratic," said the message. "Therefore, in democracy, the real holder of power are the people, who through elections, delegate power to the elected officials.
It follows - the Bishops continue - that the elections are a right of the people, a right that cannot be usurped in any case. A civil right which is also a duty, if the lack of exercise leads to the election of an inept candidate. In this case, abstention is a real guilt, not only civil, but also unpatriotic. Therefore, no citizen can remain indifferent to the elections."
The Bishops indicate some general criteria to guide voters in the choice of parties and candidates to vote for, especially considering their program. Among the most important topics mentioned are: poverty, increasing gap between the rich and poor, unequal opportunities, regional disparities, the defense of life starting from conception, family protection, recovery of spiritual and ethical values. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 30/08/2012)