We are voting this Sunday, July 18, in Sao Tome and Principe, a small African archipelago in the Gulf of Guinea, near the equator. Santoméer is called to the election to elect his new president. A first round without illusion against the background of a pandemic and marked by foreign debt. Nineteen candidates are on the starting line, but not the incumbent Evaristo Carvalho, who is not running again. There are three times as many candidates as five years ago.
Already underway, several members of the Presidential Party, the movement for the liberation of Sao Tome and the Principe – Social Democratic Party (MLSTP-PSD) including Guilherme Posser Da Costa, one of the main favorites, who finally wears the colors of the ruling party.
Other prominent figures in the race are Carlos Villa Nova, the opposition candidate for Independent Democratic Action (ADI) and Delfim Das Neves, the current president of the National Assembly.
Everyone condemns corruption and “banho”, a practice that is endemic in Sao Tome that consists of buying votes during elections. The outgoing president, Evaristo Carvalho, even touched on a word on Monday during his Independence Day speech calling on the Santomé to “remain free”.
Despite the embarrassing election, many voters will vote without illusion … This small archipelago, dependent on tourism, is suffering the consequences of Covid-19, which has forced hotels to close and increase unemployment.
Another challenge is the state that is heavily indebted to Angola and Equatorial Guinea, and also does not reduce debt.
So many priorities await the new president who will have to deal with Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus, Prime Minister. In the semi-presidential regime of São Tomé and Príncipe, it is he who really has the power.
Read also: End of Sao Tome and Principe election campaign: Corruption condemned at all levels