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Opposition’s Neves says he won Cape Verde poll

Jose Maria Neves served as prime minister from 2001 to 2016

Jose Maria Neves served as prime minister from 2001 to 2016

After taking just under 52% of the vote in Sunday’s presidential election in Cape Verde, opposition candidate Jose Maria Neves has declared himself winner.

The provisional results that have been announced from 99.4% of the polling stations also show that his main rival, Carlos Alberta Veiga, got 42% of the vote.

Mr Veiga was the candidate for the party of outgoing President Jorge Carlos Fonseca.

He acknowledged his defeat during a press conference and congratulated Mr Neves.

Mr Neves, 61, served as prime minister from 2001 to 2016. He was the candidate for Cape Verde’s largest political party – the African Party for the Independence of Cabo Verde (PAICV).

He said during the campaign that if elected, he would heal the divisions in the country and promote Cape Verde’s recovery after the economic, social and health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In his first official speech after the election, he said he would be “a president for all Cape Verdeans”.

He told the BBC he was “extremely happy and grateful after this victory”.

Seven candidates were running for president. The first-placed finisher had to secure more than 50% to avoid a second-round run-off. Provisional results must still be certified by the national electoral commission in the coming days.

In comparison with some other African countries, elections here in this West African nation are peaceful affairs. Cape Verde is well known for its good track record on conducting free and fair elections since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

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