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Monday, 12 February, 2001, 15:16 GMT
'Second round' for Cape Verde elections

Cape Verde's presidential elections are likely to go into a second round with only two percentage points separating the two main candidates.

A candidate needs an absolute majority to win the election, and with nearly all the votes counted Carlos Veiga had 47% and Pedro Pires had 45%.

Cape Verde
Population: 450,000
Capital: Praia
Life expectancy: 69 years
Religion: Roman Catholic (97%)
GDP: $3,233
Turnout was reported to be very low - one possible reason for this is voter fatigue as parliamentary elections took place just three weeks ago.

The second round in the presidential elections will take place in two weeks time.

The president of the National Electoral Commission said the election took place "normally", in contrast to the delays which characterised the parliamentary vote.

Carlos Veiga and Pedro Pires are both former prime ministers:

Pedro Pires
Pedro Pires: Party for the Independence of Cape Verde
Mr Pires, of the Party for the Independence of Cape Verde, led the 10-island nation under a one-party system for 15 years following independence from Portugal in 1976.

The first multi-party elections in 1991 saw Mr Veiga, of the Movement for Democracy (MPD), elected as prime minister.

Democratic pioneer

That election was the first time in sub-Saharan Africa that a governing party which had introduced a multi-party system had been removed by popular vote.

Carlos Veiga
Carlos Veiga: Movement for Democracy
Mr Veiga stood down last year after two consecutive terms in order to run for the presidency - not long before his MDP was voted out of power.

The other two presidential candidates were

  • David Hopffer Almada (independent)
  • Jorge Carlos Fonseca (Party for Democratic Convergence)

Country of contrasts

About 290,000 people are registered to vote in total - nearly 10% of them emigrants registered overseas.

The new president will inherit a country of contrasts, where political stability has been a constant feature since independence, and economic growth, adult literacy and per capita income are among the best in sub-Saharan Africa.

But it is also a country saddled with debt, where poverty levels remain high and unemployment persists at about 25%.

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See also:

10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Cape Verde
10 Jan 01 | Africa
Timeline: Cape Verde
16 Jan 01 | Africa
Opposition triumph in Cape Verde
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