CAPE VERDE

Cape Verde's prime minister declares victory in weekend legislative elections

Cape Verde Prime Minister and Movement for Democracy (MpD) candidate Ulisses Correia e Silva casts his vote.
Cape Verde Prime Minister and Movement for Democracy (MpD) candidate Ulisses Correia e Silva casts his vote. © LUSA - FERNANDO DE PINA

Cape Verde's prime minister has declared victory after results showed his party on course to win legislative elections dominated by the Covid pandemic and its impact on the island's tourism-dependent economy.

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"It's a great victory, the victory of Cape-Verde," Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva said as jubilant supporters gathered in front of his party's headquarters in the capital of Praia.

"We succeeded in convincing Cape Verdeans of the correctness of the government's conduct in a very difficult time and the correctness of our proposals for the future," he added.

The 58-year-old leader's Movement for Democracy (MpD) -- in power since 2016 -- had won 36 of the 72 seats in the country's National Assembly by Sunday evening, according to results from 95 percent of polling stations tallied by the electoral commission.

The centre-right MpD, which held 40 seats in the outgoing parliament, could still win the 37 deputies needed for an absolute majority, as results for four seats devolved to overseas Cape Verdeans in the Americas, Europe and Africa have not yet been counted.

Big lead over closest opposition group

The MpD is nevertheless well ahead of the opposition African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), which ruled the former Portuguese colony when it was a one-party state, led by Janira Hopffer Almada.

Results suggested the party would win 26 seats, dashing the 42-year-old lawyer's hopes of becoming the country's first female leader.

Almada has complained that the ruling party continued campaigning after the official end of electioneering on Friday, calling it a "grave violation".

With foreign tourism accounting for roughly a quarter of the economy and visitors unable to come because of global pandemic restrictions, Cape Verde, with a population of 550,000, was plunged into a historic recession in 2020, when output shrank by 14.8 percent.

Both major parties have pledged measures to provide wide access to Covid-19 vaccinations and to diversify the economy.

Cape Verde has a semi-parliamentary system in which the prime minister wields executive power while the president plays the part of arbitrator in the event of dispute.

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