Ruling Movement for Democracy party is expected to hand Ulisses Correia e Silva a second five-year term as prime minister.
Cape Verde’s ruling party is on course to maintain its majority following a parliamentary election despite criticism from the opposition over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy, partial results have shown.
The vote on Sunday presented the chance for the main opposition leader, Janira Hopffer Almada, to become the country’s first female prime minister, but her party’s loss ruled that out.
The ruling Movement for Democracy (MpD) party is expected to hand Ulisses Correia e Silva a second five-year term as prime minister.
With all but three of 72 seats determined on Monday, the MpD has won 36 seats, according to the Cape Verde Technological Center, which publishes results on behalf of the election commission.
The main opposition, Almada’s African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), got 29 seats and a third party won four.
A cluster of 10 volcanic islands 570km (350 miles) off West Africa, Cape Verde has held democratic elections since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
Border closures during the coronavirus pandemic have cut off its beaches and mountains from the tourists that normally flock there.
The economy shrank by 14 percent in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund. It is expected to grow by 5.8 percent in 2021. There have been 20,254 COVID-19 infections and 190 COVID-related deaths, Reuters news agency data shows.
The final results, which will likely leave the MpD with a similar number of seats as its last term, are expected later on Monday.
“This is a victory of justice, a fair victory for what we have done and what we have faced during these last five difficult years, with three consecutive years of drought and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Silva told the media on Sunday evening.
Almada congratulated Silva and said she would resign her party leadership.
Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from Cape Verde’s capital Praia, said that it’s now up to Silva to put words into action, as he has promised jobs and to jump-start the economy.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, the prime minister admitted his country is facing unprecedented challenges.
“With three years of severe drought, the worst of the last 37 years impacting the life of families and the farming sector, add to that, more than a year of pandemic and we faced the worst economic and social health crisis in Cape Verde that we’ve ever experienced,” Silva said.
“Still we manage to protect companies, jobs and protect people’s income.”
Haque said the people of Cape Verde see in the ruling party’s slogan “a steady path, hope for change in their circumstances, and the country’s future”.