LUANDA, Angola (AP) _ President Jose Eduardo dos Santos appointed his minister of planning as prime minister late Friday, filling the position for the first time in 13 years.

The post of prime minister was merged with that of the president in December 1978 when President Agostinho Neto introduced Marxism-Leninism, and the restoration of the prime ministry marks a further step toward separating dos Santos' powers as the nation moves toward democracy.

Appointed was Fernando Jose Franca Van-Dunem, 56, a former justice minister, deputy foreign minister, ambassador to Portugal and special representative in the Netherlands, in Belgium and with the European Community.

Last month, dos Santos' Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola elected a secretary general, a post it says it created to relieve dos Santos of party administration work during Angola's transition to democracy.

The country's first free elections are scheduled for the fall of 1992, under peace accords signed by the government and the U.S-backed UNITA rebel movement in May.

UNITA, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, fought the Soviet-backed government in Luanda for 16 years. UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi is expected to be dos Santos' main challenger in the presidential election.