Saturday 27 May 2017

Sao Tome runoff vote confirmed for August 7 despite row

Sao Tome runoff vote confirmed for August 7 despite row
(AFP 07/29/16)

The government of Sao Tome and Principe on Thursday fixed the second round of a presidential election for August 7 despite unrest after a challenge to the first-round result.

The ruling party candidate and former prime minister Evaristo Carvalho appeared to have scraped past the required 50-percent mark needed for an outright win in the July 17 poll.

But incumbent Manuel Pinto da Costa challenged the outcome and election officials in Africa's second smallest state called a second round after revising Carvalho's tally to 49.8 percent and 24.83 for Da Costa, the candidate of Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada.

Carvalho, standing for the Independent Democratic Action party, had initially been credited with a 50.2 percent score.

Da Costa had sought an annulment of the first round results via a joint appeal with third-placed candidate Maria das Neves, who took 16 percent of the vote.

But the constitutional court found against their claim of irregularities and fraud.

In modifying the initial results the electoral commission had taken into account tallies of ballots cast by voters in the diaspora and voting having been delayed in one district.

First round turnout was 64.31 percent of a total electorate of 111,222 in a country of barely 200,000 people which depends largely on international aid.

Executive power in Sao Tome and Principe is shared between the president and the prime minister and has led to turf wars in the past.

The president's role is to arbitrate while the prime minister governs a former Portuguese colony which gained independence in 1975 and has been a democracy since 1991.

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