Sunday 22 April 2018

Cape Verde liberal MFD hopes to strengthen grip at polls

Cape Verde liberal MFD hopes to strengthen grip at polls
(AFP 09/05/16)

Cape Verde's liberal Movement for Democracy (MFD) looked set to cement its hold over the Atlantic island Sunday with an expected victory in municipal elections seen as a key indicator for a presidential vote next month.

More than 360,000 Cape Verdians turned out to vote across the 22 municipalities of the archipelago, which is one of Africa's most stable democracies.

The MFD only ousted the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) from power after 15 years in a general election in March, but has long enjoyed a majority in the municipalities.

The MFD looked set to sweep at least 15 of the constituencies by late Sunday, further boosting its hold, according to polling data.

The beleaguered African Party PAICV was expected to take six.

The MFD's sights are now set on October 2, when their candidate Jorge Carlos Fonseca will hope to win a second term.

The PAICV is yet to pick a presidential contender after the bruising March campaign.

Residents punished the PAICV at the polls for not doing more to help those displaced by a volcanic eruption in November 2014, when thousands were forced from their homes.

High youth unemployment and weariness with the ruling party were also seen as threats to the PAICV, which ruled Cape Verde as a single party before winning the first multi-party elections in 1991 and again four years later.

Two independents, Joaquim Monteiro and Albertino Graca, will also stand for president on October 2 in the former Portuguese colony.

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