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Politics

Angolan diplomat Ismael Martins leads African Union observers to Cape Verde's presidential elections

The diplomat and former angolan minister Ismael Gaspar Martins will lead the African Union (AU) observer mission to the Cape Verde presidential elections, which take place on Sunday, the institution announced this Monday, in a statement.

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The short-term observer mission to monitor and report on the electoral process will comprise a team of 35 people and will be in Cape Verde from 10 to 23 October "to carry out the observation and analysis of key aspects of the electoral process", in the context of of the AU assessment.

The mission is also composed of permanent representatives to the AU, officials of electoral management bodies, members of civil society, experts in gender and human rights, as well as representatives of youth organizations.

Also according to the AU, it includes representatives from 20 African countries, including Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe, which are also part of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP).

The observation mission foresees meetings with local authorities during this period and its members will be distributed across the nine inhabited islands from Friday.

After the electoral period, the AU mission led by Angolan Ismael Gaspar Martins (minister with different portfolios in the Angolan Government since 1975) plans to publicly present its conclusions and preliminary recommendations on October 19, still in Praia, according to the same statement.

Cape Verde holds presidential elections on October 17, 2021, in which Jorge Carlos Fonseca, who is serving his second and final term as President of the Republic, no longer runs. If no candidate wins a majority of the votes on Sunday, the second round, with the two most voted, is scheduled for October 31st.

The Constitutional Court admitted the candidacies for these elections – for which almost 400 thousand voters are registered – by José Maria Pereira Neves, Carlos Veiga, Fernando Rocha Delgado, Gilson Alves, Hélio Sanches, Joaquim Jaime Monteiro and Casimiro de Pina.

This is the first time that Cape Verde has registered seven official candidates for President of the Republic in direct elections, after the maximum has been four so far, in 2001 and 2011.

According to Cape Verde's Constitution, the President of the Republic is elected by universal and direct suffrage by the voters registered in the national territory and abroad.

Only a citizen "Cape Verdean of origin, who has no other nationality", over 35 years of age at the date of candidacy and who, in the three years "immediately prior to that date, has had permanent residence in the national territory" can be elected President of the Republic.

Cape Verde has had four Presidents of the Republic since independence from Portugal in 1975, the first being the late Aristides Pereira (1975 - 1991) and by indirect election, followed by the late António Mascarenhas Monteiro (1991 – 2001), the first by direct election, in 2001 Pedro Pires was elected and 10 years later Jorge Carlos Fonseca.

The previous presidential elections in Cape Verde, which reappointed constitutionalist Jorge Carlos Fonseca as President of the Republic, took place on 2 October 2016 (first-round election, with 74 percent of the vote).