Monday, May 16, 2022

Cape Verde eyeing economic reform, votes for new president

The West African archipelago of Cape Verde, one of the continent’s most stable democracies, voted on Sunday for a new president who will be tasked with revamping its tourism-driven economy after the COVID-19 pandemic sent growth crashing .

Seven candidates are vying to replace the term-limited Jorge Carlo Fonseca, but only two are considered real contenders: Carlos Veiga of Fonseca’s centre-right Movement for Democracy (MPD) and left-wing Africans for the Independence of Cape Verde. Party’s José María Neves (PAICV).

Both are former prime ministers. Veiga, 72, served from 1991 to 2000, and Neves, 61, served from 2001-2016.

A Reuters reporter said early voting in the capital Praia appeared light after polling stations opened at 7:00 am (0700 GMT).

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Economy is the main issue. Border closures during the pandemic cut Cape Verde’s beaches and mountains to tourists, leading to a 14% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. It is expected to jump to around 6% this year.

Since independence from Portugal in 1975, MpD and PAICV have had two presidents each. Democratic presidential elections have been held since 1991.

The MpD maintained its parliamentary majority in April’s election despite criticism from PAICV for its handling of the pandemic.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the first round, the presidential election will lead to a runoff.

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Nation World News Desk
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