(Reuters) - Angola's ruling MPLA headed on Sunday for a landslide victory in a parliamentary election which opposition parties have branded illegitimate, preliminary results showed.

Angola held its first national vote for 16 years on September 5 as the oil-producing former Portuguese colony recovered from a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

Following is a chronology on Angola:

1975 - The last Portuguese forces withdraw, leaving the Soviet and Cuban backed Marxist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in control of Luanda.

1976 - The MPLA crushes the rival FNLA (National Liberation Front of Angola) and drives back the South African supported UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola).


1979 - MPLA leader Agostinho Neto dies, replaced by Soviet-trained Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

1987 - South African force enters southeast Angola to thwart MPLA and Cuban offensive against Jonas Savimbi's UNITA. They withdrew the next year.

1989 - Dos Santos and Savimbi agree on a ceasefire, but it collapses within two months.

1991 - Dos Santos, Savimbi sign peace accord in Lisbon.

1992 - United Nations monitors multiparty polls for president and national assembly. UNITA accuses government of fraud after MPLA wins both votes. Fighting flares again.

1994 - Government and UNITA sign Lusaka Protocol peace accord in Zambia.

March 1998 - UNITA declares its effective demobilization. Angola legalizes the rebel movement.

December 1998 - Luanda launches offensive against UNITA -- thousands killed in next four years of fighting.

2002 - Savimbi is killed in battle in February and a formal ceasefire is signed in April.


April 2006 - Angola and UNITA rebels sign a truce to end one of Africa's longest wars.

2008 - Angola's rapidly expanding oil output puts it neck and neck with Nigeria's as the biggest producer on the continent.

September 5 - Legislative election. A presidential election is expected to take place in 2009.

September 7 - Preliminary election results show the ruling MPLA wins almost 82 percent of the vote nationally.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/ )

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)