Sao Tome Opposition Leader Vila Nova Wins Presidential Runoff

Sao Tome Opposition Leader Vila Nova Wins Presidential Runoff

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Sao Tome and Principe’s former infrastructure minister, Carlos Vila Nova, has won the country’s presidential election runoff, beating the ruling party’s candidate in the delayed election, according to provisional results announced by the electoral commission.

Vila Nova won the vote with 57.3% while his rival, former prime minister Guilherme Posser da Costa, who was backed by a coalition of the ruling party, received 42.46% of the vote.

Vila Nova, 65, will succeed 79-year-old Evaristo Carvalho, who did not seek a second five-year term in the largely ceremonial post.

Seen as a model of parliamentary democracy in the Gulf of Guinea, Sao Tome is a focus of interest by the oil industry, with several firms exploring in the hope of finding significant reserves.

Who Is Vila Nova?

Vila Nova, 65, is a telecommunications engineer who is little known among the general public.

He was a civil servant until 1988 when he went into the tourism business before going into politics, serving as public works minister from 2010 to 2012, then infrastructure and environment minister from 2014 to 2018.

He was elected to parliament in 2018.

The second-round runoff, initially set for August 8, was twice postponed.

The timetable was delayed after the third-placed candidate in the first round, Delfim das Neves, filed a petition against the result, alleging fraud. His suit was eventually rejected by the Constitutional Tribunal.

A total of 19 candidates stood in the first round on July 18.

Sao Tome exports cocoa and coffee and also lives on subsistence farming, fishing and tourism, but it remains overwhelmingly dependent on international aid.

About one-third of the population lives on less than the international poverty line of $1.90 a day, and more than two-thirds are classified as poor, according to the World Bank.

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