Sao Tome and Principe (STP) will hold presidential elections today. The election features an open field of 19 candidates and
Sao Tome and Principe (STP) will hold presidential elections today.
The election features an open field of 19 candidates and will be held over two rounds if no candidate gains 50% of the vote in the first-round of voting. Incumbent President Evarista Carvalho of the centrist Independent Democratic Action party (ADI) is not seeking re-election. Carvalho’s presidency is notable for formally allying STP with China in 2017.
Carlos Vila Nova is the standard-bearer for the ADI. The ADI has historically attracted the largest vote-share in recent parliamentary and presidential elections, making Vila Nova this election’s front-runner. However, should he win, he faces a hostile parliament led by Jorge Bom Jesus of the left-wing Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP/PSD), who has levelled corruption allegations against the ADI. This transition of power would be smoother if one of the MLSTP/PSD candidates won, but as the party has 6 candidates running, likely splitting the vote.
Despite this tension, both main parties support continued relations with China, signaling a likely continuation of significant Chinese investment in the country. Chinese investment includes the construction of a $31 million airport as part of $146 million infrastructural package to STP.
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