Electoral Umpire Promises Credible Presidential Poll in Cabo Verde

The National Electoral Commission of Cabo Verde (CNE) has assured the ECOWAS Observation Mission that preparations were on good course for credible and transparent presidential election in the country on 17th October.

CNE Chair, Maria do Rosário Lopes Pereira Gonçalves stated this at the Commission’s headquarters in Praia, the nation’s capital adding that sensitive and non-sensitive electoral material have already been dispatched to CNE offices across the country with an estimated 550,000 people and its large diaspora population.

“Everything is going according to plan,” he declared .

The CNE says it had registered 398,864 eligible voters, including 56,208 Cabo Verdeans or 14.09% of the total abroad in a presidential election being contested by seven candidates, with two frontrunners who had both served as Prime Minister.

Since its independence from Portugal in 1975, and after the first democratic poll in 1991, Cabo Verde has conducted elections adjudged by international observers as free and fair, with official results announced within 48 hours after balloting.

Provisional results are known at the polling units, which records results in a Tablet. The official copy signed by polling officials and agents of the candidates is transmitted to CNE, which announces the official result. The CNE Chair expects the same outcome from the 17th October poll, noting that while “there are no perfect elections; no major negative incident has been reported.”

On the allegation of vote-buying raised by one of the presidential candidates, she said the CNE had called the candidate to order, warning against encouraging voters to accept incentives, including money, but voting their conscience.

She further stated tha if there is evidence of fraud, the candidate should produce it as required by the electoral law and the constitution, adding that so far, CNE has not received any official complaints or evidence of any malpractice in the electoral process.

The seven candidates gunning for the top post are Jose Maria Pereira Neves, Carlos Alberto Wahnon de Carvalho Veiga, Fernando Rocha Delgado, Gilson Joao dos Santos Alves, Helio de Jesus Pina Sanches, Joaquim Jaime Monteiro, and Casimiro Jesus Lopes de Pina. The two main contenders are Neves, 61, supported by the opposition African Party for the Independence of Cabo Verde, PAICV, and Veiga, 72, supported by the ruling Movement for Democracy, MpD and the breakaway Democratic and Independent Cabo Verdean Union, UCID.

Incumbent President Jorge Carlos Fonseca who has been in power since 2011, is not contesting, having reached the maximum limit of two terms allowed by the Constitution. A successful candidate requires 50% +1 vote to win the presidency, with a run-off, or second round fixed for 31st October, if no candidate meets that threshold.

Under the constitution, there is no voter card; voters cast their ballots on presentation of their National ID Cards.  Candidates for elective offices are also not required to pay election fees/deposits. Instead, they are paid an amount per vote received after an audit of the campaign and political party finances.

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