This report focuses on one particular institution which may mitigate the centralisation of power in Angola and pave the way for political reform and democratisation; the Angolan national electoral commission (the Comissão Nacional Eleitoral, CNE). The study outlines the types and role of governmental electoral management bodies (EMBs), positions the CNE in a comparative historical perspective, and analyses the CNE’s mandate and independence in terms of legal autonomy, nomination of leaders/commissioners, and financial autonomy. It is argued that the CNE is in constitutional and legal terms a genuinely independent commission, with a comparatively broad mandate and powers. However, due to the political context of Angola it remains to be seen if this formal autonomy will be translated into a counter-balancing institution to the centralised Angolan government.

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