Cabo Verde Government and Politics

On February 12, 2001, presidential elections were held, but as no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, another election round had to be conducted two weeks later. Both candidates blamed each other for irregularities during this election round, and in this chaotic political situation, the Supreme Electoral Commission decided to suspend the public counting of votes and initiate a new count. The result was that Pedro Pires of PAICV defeated Carlos Veiga by just 17 votes. Pires took over the presidential post on March 22, becoming the country’s third president since independence.

Cape Verde Country Flag

In February 2002, the government stepped up its efforts to decentralize and privatize its large state sector. To that end, it also signed a cooperation agreement with France worth DKK 610 million. Euro.

During the celebration of the African Children’s Day in June 2003, Neves declared that the government’s main goal was to provide all Cape Verde people with access to water and electricity by 2013. Following privatizations, the price of these basic goods and access to running water – especially outside the capital – rose. became more sporadic. Neves further stated that within the next 5 years, the government wants all schools to have access to at least one computer. He added that the government had initiated its development plan, Operation Hope.

In September 2004, Finance Minister João Pinto Serra sent an open letter to the IMF stating that the structural reforms within the government administration would be made more flexible in order to pave the way for privatization. The reforms would concentrate on the energy sector, water, telecommunications, transport, fisheries and shipping. The letter also contained a note on the country’s economic and financial policy as well as a promise to continue the reforms initiated by the IMF. The international financial institution required further economic deregulation to pave the way for new privatizations.

History and Politics

The discovery of the Cape Verde colony of Portugal

The Cape Verde Islands were uninhabited until they were discovered in the 15th century. From 1456 onwards, several seafarers who were in the service of Portugal to explore the coast of Africa came to the islands. Among them was Antonio da Noli. He founded a first settlement on the island of Santiago in 1462 and became governor there. Whether he or Diogo Gomes was the first to see and set foot on the islands remained a point of contention between the two.

Antonio da Noli, however, undoubtedly gave the islands the name Ilhas de Cabo Verde (Islands of the Green Cape). The name came after the Cape Verde on the mainland, which the seafarers used for navigationused so as not to miss the islands. The name did not really fit the islands with their rocky and desert-like appearance.

Mixing Portuguese and African cultures created a new Creole culture and language. The population also mixed. Mulattos became the numerically largest group of the population.

The Portuguese initially used the island of Santiago for the slave trade. Before the big crossing you could take food on board again. But trade itself also flourished. In the 16th century there were 162 free people and 13,000 slaves on Santiago.

Salt and coal were traded under British rule in the 17th and 18th centuries. Droughts occurred regularly and many people died. Many Cape Verdeans emigrated to North America, then to Europe and West Africa.

From 1936 there was a concentration camp on Santiago, which was established by the dictatorship in Portugal under Salazar. Opponents of his policy were locked up and tortured here under inhumane conditions.

Struggle for independence

A joint independence movement with Portuguese Guinea (later Guinea-Bissau) arose in 1956. The PAIGC party was founded for this purpose (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde). The aim was to unite the two colonies into one state.

Independence 1975

Guinea-Bissau declared independence in 1973, which was recognized by Portugal in 1974 after the Carnation Revolution ended the dictatorship there. Cape Verde followed on July 5, 1975 and on that day proclaimed its independence. Aristides Pereira became the country’s first president.

The PAIGC now ruled Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde under a communist dictatorship. There was a dispute within the party because the high party offices were in the hands of the Cape Verdeans, that is, of Creoles. The black African party leaders from the mainland protested against it. There was a military coup in Guinea-Bissau in 1980. The common party dissolved and the planned union was abandoned.

From one-party state to democracy in 1991

In Cape Verde the party was now called PAICV (Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde, in German: African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde). Here, too, she ruled in a one-party state. With the end of the Cold War, democratization began. For the first time further parties were admitted to the 1991 elections and the PAICV lost to the “Movement for Democracy” (MpD).

Presidents Monteiro (1991-2001), Pires (2001-2011) and Fonseca (since 2011)

António Mascarenhas Monteiro became the new president and remained in office until the 2001 elections. Then the PAICV again won the elections, now with a social democratic program, and Pedro Pires became president. In 2011 the MpD was back in front and now Jorge Carlos Fonseca became president.

Cabo Verde Head of Government

You may also like...