SAO TOME, 28 July 2021 – A presidential runoff will be needed to determine the next president of Sao Tome & Principe, the country’s electoral commission has said.
The runoff will see a former infrastructure minister, Carlos Vila Nova, face off with a former prime minister, Guiherme Posser da Costa.
The two emerged first and second respectively during the first round of voting but neither of the two top candidates garnered a majority of the votes cast.
The runoff is now scheduled to hold next August 8, according to the country’s electoral commission.
Nova, whom bookmakers say is favorite to win the runoff, garnered 39.47 percent of the votes cast during the first round of voting, while da Costa won 21 percent of the votes cast.
The candidate with the third highest number of votes cast, Delfim Neves, has alleged “massive electoral fraud”, saying he will request a recount of the ballots.
The country’s national electoral commission pushed back at the allegations of fraud, saying the vote proceeded “normally” despite boycotts which notably dampened turnout in the municipalities of Me-Zochi and Lemba.
Nearly 123,000 voters cast votes in the first round of voting to pick the next president for the nation of two main islands – Sao Tome and Principe – situated off the coast of Gabon.
The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, as the country is called, is a multiparty constitutional democracy.
In its last presidential ballot held in 2016, President Evaristo do Espirito Santo Carvalho was elected head of state.
Legislative elections held two years later saw a peaceful transfer of power from the Independent Democratic Action to a coalition of opposition political parties.
Both elections were deemed free and fair by teams of international observers who monitored the ballots.
Sao Tome & Principe has often been referred to as Africa’s model democracy.