By Julio Rodrigues
PRAIA, April 19 (Reuters) – Cape Verde’s ruling party has maintained its majority following a parliamentary election despite criticism from the opposition over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy, partial results showed on Monday,
Sunday’s vote 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, 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 570 km (350 miles) off West Africa, Cape Verde has held democratic elections since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Border closures during the pandemic have cut off its beaches and mountains from the tourists that normally flock there.
The economy shrank by 14% in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund. It is expected to grow by 5.8% in 2021. There have been 20,254 COVID-19 infections and 190 COVID-related deaths, Reuters data show.
The final results, which will likely leave the MpD with a similar number of seats as its last term, are expected 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. (Reporting by Julio Rodrigues Writing by Cooper Inveen Editing by Edward McAllister and Angus MacSwan)
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