Ruling party appeals for more debate on Draft Penal Code

Luanda – The Parliamentary Group of the ruling MPLA party last Thursday suggested that the approval of the Bill on Penal Code be taken out of the agenda of the next plenary session of the National Assembly, scheduled for 23 March.

This information was given last Thursday to the press by the parliamentary whip of the MPLA, Virgilio de Fontes Pereira, who explained that his party has enough data to come to the conclusion that this issue calls for a broader discussion.

He went on to explain that the Draft Penal Code – which entered the National Assembly (Angolan Parliament) through a legislative initiative of the Head of the Executive, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos – has several issues, such as the decriminalisation of abortion, which must be better analysed by the society.

“The Draft Penal Code has been worrying the Luanda society and our internet browsers, mainly in the matter relating to abortion. For this reason, the MPLA parliamentary group is of the opinion that this (topic) should be taken out of the plenary plenary session of 23 March and, in an opportune moment, reintroduce it in the National Assembly”, explained the ruling party’s whip.

Virgilio de Fontes Pereira defended that the point of view of the civil society has to be heard and that the MPs should not rush to approve this bill.

Still last Thursday, the Draft Penal Code issue dominated the meeting between the Parliamentary Women’s Group (GMP) and leaders of female associations.

The Draft Penal Code was already approved by MPs in its general terms on 23 February, this year. The Bill establishes as minimum prison sentence three months and maximum 25 years.

However, the most controversial aspect of the bill has been the part on abortion.

The approved redaction on this issue states that the act of abortion is punishable with 4 years to 10 years in prison. But, during the discussions at the National Assembly’s specialty commissions, the MPs agreed to withdraw the section that mentioned exceptional causes that could justify an abortion and which would mean no imposition of criminal liability on the perpetrators.

Some of the justifiable causes of abortion mentioned in the initial text were situations or circumstances that put at risk the life of expecting mothers or endanger their physical integrity while in that state.

Source: Angola Press News Agency