SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
Parliamentary Chamber: Assembleia Nacional

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  Assembleia Nacional


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  3 March 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament following the premature dissolution of this body on 10 December 2001. General elections had previously been held in November 1998.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 8 December 2001, President Fradique de Menezes issued a decree dissolving the Parliament and calling elections on 3 March 2002. The decree was issued after the President and representatives of political parties signed an agreement aimed at establishing a more representative executive, formed of at least two or three of the parties receiving the most votes. This agreement, valid for two terms, was intended to resolve the political crisis which had broken out in September 2001, when the opposition Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (MLSTP) had walked out of Parliament.

The main political groups in contention were the alliance between President de Menezes' Force for Change Democratic Movement and the Democratic Convergence Party; the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (MLSTP), which ruled the nation as a single-party Marxist state from independence until 1991 and the Ue/Kedadji, a coalition of five parties.

The campaign focused on promises to use projected oil revenue to modernise agriculture, improve education and attract foreign investment. The run-up to the elections was clouded by allegations that some parties had distributed money to voters. The MLSTP leader claimed that the other political forces were spending large amounts of foreign funds for campaigning, accusations which were denied by these parties.

About 60 per cent of the country's nearly 61,000 voters cast ballots, and international observers declared the elections free and fair.

The elections failed to produce a clear winner, as the opposition MLSTP took 24 of the 55 seats in Parliament, just one more than President de Menezes' Force for Change Democratic Movement. The eight remaining seats went to the Ue/Kedadji coalition, led by the Independent Democratic Alliance of former President Miguel Trovoada.

On 27 March 2002, President Fradique de Menezes ended three weeks of political deadlock by asking the country's envoy to Portugal, Gabriel Costa, to form a government. The latter formed a government with representatives from the three main political coalitions.

STATISTICS

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Sao Tome and Principe Liberation Movement (MLSTP) 24
Force for Change Democratic Movement/Democratic Convergence Party (MDFM/PCD) 23
Coalition Ue/Kedadji 8

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 50
Women: 5
Percent of women: 9.09


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union