As Cape Verde readies to vote in Sunday’s parliamentary election
Current Prime Minister Correia e Silva and his centre-right Movement for Democracy party are hoping for another term.
The campaign has been dominated by the Covid pandemic and its impact on a tourism-dependent economy.
“We will not develop or finance programs to manage poverty. On the other hand, we will do everything we can for people to escape poverty thanks to jobs, production and income so that they can be independent and autonomous,” he said.
Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva’s Movement for Democracy (MpD) is being closely contested by the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), a socialist party led by Janira Hopffer Almada.
Almada, 42, is bidding to be the first woman prime minister of Cape Verde, a group of tropical islands with a population of some 550,000 about 600 kilometres (375 miles) from Senegal.
In 1990, the one-party rule in Cape Verde abandoned, leading to the first multi-party elections the following year.
In 2016, the MpD ended the PAICV’s 15-year run with a historic victory, gaining 40 out of the 72 seats in the single-chamber parliament, the National Assembly.
After a campaign marked by festive rallies, where candidates danced to music — another of Cape Verde’s internationally recognised treasures — the outcome Sunday is more than likely to be accepted serenely.
“Stability… is our oil, our diamonds,” Silva told AFP on the sidelines of a rally in the capital Praia where clad in jeans and a polo shirt, he chatted to voters.
“For us, freedom, institutions and having checks on power are a priority… this is why we have an opposition.”
Who is Silva?
The tiny Atlantic archipelago ranks just behind Mauritius as the most democratic country in sub-Saharan Africa in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2020 Democracy Index.
In-office since 2016, Silva is a 58-year-old former bank executive and ex-mayor.
He was educated in Portugal, the colonial power until independence in 1975.
During his tenure, the country was not just hit by the Covid pandemic but also a three-year drought
“Stability… is our oil, our diamonds,” Silva said on the sidelines of a rally.
Both major parties are pitching on measures to provide wide access to vaccination and to diversify the economy.