Angolans are voting in an election in which the defense minister is the front-runner to succeed President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who will relinquish the post after 38 years in power.

About 9.3 million Angolans are registered to vote on Wednesday for the 220-member National Assembly; the winning party will then select the president. Dos Santos' chosen successor is Joao Lourenco, the defense minister and a former governor.

The ruling MPLA party won the 2012 election with 72 percent of votes amid allegations of irregularities. The UNITA party, a former rebel force that fought the MPLA in Angola's civil war, is the main opposition challenger.

Oil-rich Angola is beset by poverty, corruption and human rights concerns, though some analysts believe new leadership could open the way to more accountability.