Cape Verde: Cape Verde has begun electing a new president at a critical time for the economy

The collapse of tourism due to the pandemic puts one of Africa’s most stable democracies on the line

MADRID, October 17 (European press) –

Cape Verdean voters go to the polls on Sunday in the first round of the presidential election that will determine the successor to Jorge Carlos Fonseca; The seventh elections since the beginning of the democratic transition in 1991 for a country considered a model of democratic stability after colonialism, more than forty years after its independence from Portugal.

Among the seven candidates submitted, two stood out: Carlos Vega, supported by the Movement for Democracy (MPD) and the Democratic and Independent Union of Cape Verde (UCID); and Jose Maria Neves, who was nominated with the support of the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). MPD and PAICV each hold 90 percent of Parliament seats.

Vega is a founding member of the Popular Movement and Development Party, a party that played a central role in Cape Verde’s transition to democracy. The 71-year-old candidate, whose role as ambassador to the United States ended in 2020, served as prime minister between 1991 and 2000.

For his part, Nevis was elected prime minister in 2001. He went on to hold the longest term in the country’s history, being elected three times in a row until 2016. The 61-year-old is a former president and deputy of PAICV.

Although the Prime Minister (Ulisses Correia e Silva) usually holds executive power in Cape Verde, the role of the president goes beyond mere ceremonial character to become a figure of consensus, stabilizer, and protector of the constitution.

The winner of the election – the second round scheduled for October 31 if no one gets a majority – will face a very difficult economic situation due to the pandemic. Production declined 14.8 percent in 2020, due in part to the country’s reliance on tourism, which accounts for 25 percent of the economy.

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