Angolan president Dos Santos re-elected leader of ruling MPLA party

August 19, 2016 4:16 PM EDT

Angolan President and MPLA leader, Jose Eduardo dos Santos speaks at the ruling MPLA party congress to determine candidates for the 2017 elections in the capital Luanda, Angola, August 17, 2016. Picture taken August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Herculano Coroado

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LUANDA (Reuters) - Angola's ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) on Friday confirmed the election of Jose Eduardo dos Santos for another term as leader of the party.

Dos Santos, the sole nominee, won 2,543 votes, or 99.6 percent, MPLA spokesman Manuel Rabelais said after its electoral convention in the capital, Luanda.

There had been speculation before the congress that Dos Santos, 73, who has ruled the oil-rich southern African nation since 1979, might not make himself available for re-election.

He had said in March he intended to step down as party leader in 2018, without naming a preferred successor.

Angola holds its next parliamentary election in 2017 and the leader of the winning party will become president.

Dos Santos was appointed to a new five-year term as president in 2012 after a landslide election win by the MPLA.

(Reporting Herculan Coroado; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; editing by John Stonestreet and Grant McCool)

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