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Politics of São Tomé and Príncipe


Politics of São Tomé and Príncipe

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
São Tomé and Príncipe

The politics of São Tomé and Príncipe takes place in a framework of a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of São Tomé and Príncipe is head of state and the Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe is head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. São Tomé has functioned under a multiparty system since 1990. Following the promulgation of a new constitution in 1990, São Tomé and Príncipe held multiparty elections for the first time since independence. Shortly after the constitution took effect, the National Assembly formally legalized opposition parties. Independent candidates also were permitted to participate in the January 1991 legislative elections.

Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Manuel Pinto da Costa Independent 3 September 2011
Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada Independent Democratic Action 25 November 2014

The president of the republic is elected to a five-year term by direct universal suffrage and a secret ballot, and may hold up to two consecutive terms. Candidates are chosen at their party's national conference (or individuals may run independently). A presidential candidate must obtain an outright majority of the popular vote in either a first or second round of voting in order to be elected president. The prime minister is named by the president but must be ratified by the majority party and thus normally comes from a list of its choosing. The prime minister, in turn, names the 14 members of the cabinet.

Legislative branch

The National Assembly (Assembleia Nacional) has 55 members, elected for a four-year term in seven multi-member constituencies by proportional representation. It is the supreme organ of the state and the highest legislative body, and meets semiannually.

Political parties and elections

 Summary of the 30 July 2006 São Tomé and Príncipe presidential election results
Candidates, parties Votes %
Fradique de Menezes, Force for Change Democratic Movement-Liberal Party 34,859 60.6
Patrice Trovoada, Independent Democratic Action 22,339 38.8
Nilo Guimarães 342 0.6
Total (Turnout 64.9%) 57,540 100.0
Registered voters 91,119
Total votes cast 59,178
Invalid votes 1,638
Source: African Election Database.
 Summary of the 26 March 2006 National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe election results
Parties Votes % Seats
MDFM-PCD coalition   36.79 23
Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe-Social Democratic Party (Movimento de Libertação de São Tomé e Príncipe)   29.47 20
Independent Democratic Action (Acção Democrática Independente)   20.00 11
New Way Movement (Movimento Novo Rumo)   4.71 1
Uê Kédadji Coalition   -
São Toméan Workers Party (Partido Trabalhista Santomense)   -
Christian Democratic Front (Frente Democrática Cristã)   -
Social Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Social)   -
Generation Hope (Geração Esperança)   -
Union of Democrats for Citizenship and Development (União dos Democratas para Cidadania e Desenvolvimento)   -
Total (turnout 66.9%)   55
Source: African Elections Database and Adam Carr

Judicial branch

Justice is administered at the highest level by the Supreme Court. Formerly responsible to the National Assembly, the judiciary is now independent under the new constitution.

Administrative divisions

Administratively, the country is divided into seven municipal districts, six on São Tomé and one comprising Príncipe. Governing councils in each district maintain a limited number of autonomous decision-making powers, and are reelected every 5 years. Príncipe has had self-government since 29 April 1995

Human rights and democracy

Since the constitutional reforms of 1990 and the elections of 1991, São Tomé and Príncipe has made great strides toward developing its democratic institutions and further guaranteeing the civil and human rights of its citizens. São Toméans have freely changed their government through peaceful and transparent elections, and while there have been disagreements and political conflicts within the branches of government and the National Assembly, the debates have been carried out and resolved in open, democratic, and legal fora, in accordance with the provisions of São Toméan law. A number of political parties actively participate in government and openly express their views. Freedom of the press is respected, and there are several independent newspapers in addition to the government bulletin. The government's respect for human rights is exemplary; the government does not engage in repressive measures against its citizens, and respect for individuals' rights to due process and protection from government abuses is widely honored. Freedom of expression is accepted, and the government has taken no repressive measures to silence critics.

A briefly successful coup d'état led by Major Fernando "Cobo" Pereira took place on 16 July 2003. [1]

International organization participation

The country is member of the World Trade Organization (applicant)


External links

  • Official website of the São Toméan Government (Portuguese)
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