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February 12, 2006
Cape Verde - Pires faces Veiga for the second time

Election Date: February 12, 2006


CREDIT: Flag courtesy of ITA’s Flags of All Countries used with permission.

At stake: National Assembly

Background

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Located off the west coast of the African continent, Cape Verde is comprised of a collection of relatively small islands that gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

In 1981, after aborting plans to unite with Guinea-Bissau, the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) was founded. The PAICV remained the country’s only political force until a new constitution was drafted in 1992, introducing a multi-party system.

In 1996, Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro—who had won the country’s first free presidential election in 1991—was reelected. His Movement for Democracy (MPD) also earned enough seats in the National Assembly to form the government on that same year.

In 2001, the PAICV defeated the MPD in the legislative ballot to regain control of the National Assembly. PAICV leader Pedro Pires won the presidential election over MPD nominee Carlos Veiga by just 17 votes.

While Cape Verde is susceptible to drought and therefore failed harvests, it still boasts a per capita income that is higher than that of many other countries in continental Africa.

2006 National Assembly Election

Once again, the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) and the Movement for Democracy (MPD) are expected to dominate the legislative contest.

Two voting intention polls released in late 2005 suggested different outcomes for the ballot. A September survey by Euroexpansao had the opposition MPD securing 39 of the 72 seats at stake. Conversely, a poll by Marktest released in October said the governing political organization would elect 42 legislators. Citizens of Cape Verde who reside abroad elect six members to the National Assembly.

Incumbent prime minister Jose Maria Neves has expressed hope in a renewed mandate for the PAICV, while MPD leader Agostinho Lopes said a majority for his party is a possibility.

Voting took place on Jan. 23. Final results gave the PAICV 51.77 per cent of the vote and 40 seats, with the MPD finishing second at 43.55 per cent and 28 seats. Neves thanked the electorate "for having confidence in us by voting massively for the PAICV," and added, "It is obvious that we have not been able to do everything in a five-year term but by renewing your confidence in us, you push us to do more."

On Jan. 26, Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Joao Alem called for the annulment of the ballot, adding, "We have been a victim of fraud, with the other parties."

On Jan. 29, observers from the Forum of West African Civil Society Organizations endorsed the ballot as free and transparent. On Jan. 30, the PAICV secretary general Mario Matos accused Lopes of tarnishing the country’s image by rejecting the election’s results and said the MPD leader launched "an attempt to create chaos and instability."

Voter turnout was tabled at 58 per cent.

2005 Presidential Election

The presidential ballot was scheduled for Feb. 12. The two contenders from the 2001 election—incumbent leader Pedro Pires of the PAICV and opponent Carlos Veiga of the MPD—are running again.

Veiga has pledged to "cooperate with the government" if he wins the election.

Political Players

President: Pedro Pires
Prime minister: Jose Maria Neves

The president is elected to a five-year term by popular vote.

Legislative Branch: The Asembleia Nacional (National Assembly) has 72 members, elected to five-year terms by proportional representation.

Results of Last Election:

President - Jan. 11 and 25, 2001

 

Vote%

Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires (PAICV)

50% (*)

Carlos Alberto Wahnon de Carvalho Veiga (MPD)

50%

(*) Pires won by 17 votes.

National Assembly - Jan. 22, 2006

 

Vote%

Seats

African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV)

51.77%

40

Movement for Democracy (MPD)

43.55%

28

Independent and Democratic Cape Verde Union (UCID)

2.72%

2

Party of Democratic Renewal (PRD)

0.60%

--

Social Democratic Party (PSD)

0.36%

--

Results from 2001 Election - Assembly (PDF)


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