Lourenço, João Manuel Gonçalves

Lourenço, João Manuel Gonçalves,

1954–, Angolan political leader and military officer. A member of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), he fought against the Portuguese in the 1970s and then against rival liberation movements during the country's civil war in the 1970s and 80s; he also studied in the Soviet Union (1978–82). After rising to the rank of general and serving as governor of several provinces, he became the MPLA's secretary for information (1992–97) and the party's secretary general (1998–2003). He then served as first vice president of the national assembly (2003–14) and minister of defense (2014–17). He was named vice president of the MPLA in 2016, and subsequently became (2017) its presidential candidate after José Eduardo dos Santosdos Santos, José Eduardo
, 1942–, president of Angola (1979–2017). Educated in the USSR as an engineer, he was foreign minister in the first government of independent Angola, succeeding Neto as president of Angola and head of the Popular Movement for the
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 decided to retire. After winning election, Lourenço moved quickly to reduce the influence of dos Santos's family and supporters in the government and state-owned businesses. He replaced dos Santos as chairman of the MPLA in 2018.
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