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Presidential elections to be held in Cape Verde

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Presidential elections to be held in Cape Verde

Photo: Liliana Henriques/RFI

Cape Verde—a ten-island Central Atlantic archipelago off the North African coast—will hold presidential elections today.The strongest contenders in the seven-candidate field are Carlos Veiga of the center-right Movement for Democracy (MpD) and Jose Maria Neves of the left-wing African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Both former Prime Ministers are running to replace the outgoing two-term incumbent President Jorge Carlos Fonseca.

Veiga currently holds the strongest position after his MpD party retained control of the government after winning the parliamentary elections six months ago. The presidency’s largely mediatory role in Cape Verde’s semi-presidential system is tempered by the office’s power to veto legislation. Veiga will likely favour MpD’s pro-business agenda to lead the nation’s post-Covid recovery after the tourism-dependent economy shrank 14.8% in 2020 due to border closures. Given PAICV’s criticism of the MpD government’s handling of the pandemic, a win for Neves will likely see a cautious approach to loosening pandemic restrictions.

Given the lack of incumbency and the record seven candidate-field—the most in Cape Verdean history—no candidate is likely to obtain a majority, triggering a second-round vote on October 31 which Veiga is best-positioned to win.

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