Former Prime Minister Jose Neves wins Cape Verde’s presidential election

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The opposition candidate and former Cape Verdean Prime Minister, Jose Neves, has won Sunday’s presidential election, according to provisional results published Monday.

Seven candidates were vying to replace Jorge Fonseca, who had reached the end of his two-term limit in the Atlantic archipelago nation.

Mr Neves, 61, a member of the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) and head of government from 2001 to 2016, won 51.7 per cent of the vote, an absolute majority needed to be elected, the official results shows.

Election officials said Mr Neves won 99.4 per cent of polling stations putting him well ahead of Carlos Veiga, of the Movement for Democracy (MpD).

Mr Veiga, 71, another former prime minister from 1991 to 2000, obtained 42.6 per cent of the vote, according to the results. Five other candidates all won less than 2 per cent each.

The elected president, Mr Neves, will inherit responsibility for stabilising the Island nation’s tourism-driven economy after the COVID-19 pandemic drove it deep into recession.

Cape Verde continues to battle an economic recession after output shrank by 14.8 per cent in 2020, partly due to the country’s dependence on tourism, which accounts for 25 per cent of the economy.

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Mr Neves said he wants to be a president “who unites, protects and cares.”

“I must say that it is a great responsibility to preside over the Cape Verdean nation in these difficult times, and I receive this victory with the great humility that has always characterised me,” he told supporters after his victory.

The transfer of power will be the fourth between the MpD and PAICV since independence from Portugal in 1975, consolidating Cape Verde’s status as one of Africa’s most stable democracies.

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