The ruling party in Sao Tome and Principe emerged victorious in a weekend election but lost its majority in the small African island nation, according to initial results, as hundreds demonstrated against potential poll fraud but were dispersed by riot police. In power since 2014, the Independent Democratic Action party (ADI) won Sunday’s poll, securing 25 of the 55 assembly seats, the Electoral Commission said late on Monday — down on its previous tally of 33 seats. Protesters gathered on Monday night in front of the electoral commission claiming the ADI vote share had been boosted through fraud.
Former prime minister Evaristo Carvalho has been elected president of Sao Tome and Principe, the election commission said on Monday, after incumbent Manuel Pinto da Costa dropped out of the race citing voting irregularities in the first round. Carvalho won 42,058 votes in Sunday’s poll, the National Electoral Commission (CEN) said, announcing provisional results. Only 46 percent of voters voted and of those 18 percent turned in blank or invalid ballots, said CEN chairman Alberto Pereira.
Voters in the tiny archipelago of Sao Tome and Principe went to the polls Sunday to elect a new head of state, with just one candidate in a runoff boycotted by the incumbent president. Held up as a regional model of democracy, the west African former Portuguese colony is mired in its worst crisis in a quarter-century of multiparty politics. In the first round of voting on July 17, former prime minister Evaristo Carvalho, the ruling party candidate, initially seemed to have scraped past the 50 percent needed for an outright win. Election officials then revised Carvalho’s tally downwards to 49.8 percent and the share of 79-year-old President Manuel Pinto da Costa to 24.83 percent, thus prompting a runoff. But Pinto da Costa, who had lashed the process as a fraud and demanded it be scrapped, announced he would not contest the second round.
The president of the west African state of Sao Tome and Principe, attacking the country’s elections for head of state as fraudulent, says he will not take part in next Saturday’s runoff vote. In a letter published Tuesday by the Constitutional Tribunal, the country’s top court, 78-year-old president Manuel Pinto da Costa said he refused to participate in the second round of voting. “To continue to take part in a process of this kind would be tantamount to approving it. I will not do so as a candidate, and even less so as president of the republic,” Pinto da Costa said in the letter, dated August 1. “No one can be a candidate in the presidential election against his will.”
The government of Sao Tome and Principe on Thursday fixed the second round of a presidential election for August 7 despite unrest after a challenge to the first-round result. The ruling party candidate and former prime minister Evaristo Carvalho appeared to have scraped past the required 50-percent mark needed for an outright win in the July 17 poll. But incumbent Manuel Pinto da Costa challenged the outcome and election officials in Africa’s second smallest state called a second round after revising Carvalho’s tally to 49.8 percent and 24.83 for Da Costa, the candidate of Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada. Carvalho, standing for the Independent Democratic Action party, had initially been credited with a 50.2 percent score.
The small African state of Sao Tome and Principe remains in political limbo after a refusal by the head of state Manuel Pinto da Costa to run in a second presidential election run-off round. The president qualified for the final round between the top two candidates, winning 24.83 percent of votes in the first mid-July round. The other finalist is Evaristo Carvalho, an ally of Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada, who won 49.8 percent, according to definitive results published late Monday by the Constitutional Tribunal. But Pinto da Costa and the candidate in third place, Maria das Neves, have jointly alleged fraud in the July 17 vote in the twin Atlantic archipelagos off equatorial Africa’s coast.
A failed presidential candidate in Sao Tome and Principe, Africa’s second smallest nation, has challenged the outcome of a weekend vote which produced a surprise winner and strengthened the hand of the prime minister. The ruling party candidate and former prime minister Evaristo Carvalho won Sunday’s first round, scraping just past the required 50-percent mark needed for an outright win. The 78-year-old incumbent President Manuel Pinto da Costa, who was seeking a third term as an independent, polled 24 percent.
Polls have opened in the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe where citizens are choosing a president. Over one hundred thousand voters are expected to cast their ballots in the poll which pits incumbent president Manuel Pinto da Costa against four other contenders. Two of the contenders, Evaristo Carvalho and Maria das Neves already pitted their strengths against Pinto da Costa in 2011 but lost. Sunday’s poll is expected to be a keen one among these three main contenders who have played different roles in the island nation’s political life.