São Tomé and Principe Government and Politics

Constitution and political system

According to AllCityCodes.com, São Tomé and Príncipe are a democratic and unified state republic. In 1994, however, the country took a step in the federal direction when Príncipe gained considerable autonomy, and a regional assembly and government was established on the island. The country’s head of state is a president, elected in the general election for five years with the possibility of one re-election. He has somewhat less authority than is usual in presidential countries. Legislative authority has been added to a national assembly with 55 elected members, elected in the general election for four years. The government, chaired by a prime minister, is nominated by the assembly and appointed by the president. The previous liberation movement MLSTP-PSD is the largest party and was the only allowable 1972-90.

The country of Sao Tome and Principe is divided into seven districts. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of ST and its meanings of Sao Tome and Principe.

The judiciary

The judiciary includes a Supreme Court and a Court of First Instance. The legislation is based on Portuguese examples.

Two uninhabited islands are settled

On December 21, 1471, João de Santarém landed on São Tomé. The Portuguese navigator took possession of the island for Portugal and named it after the saint of the day: Thomas, in Portuguese São Tomé. On January 17, 1472 he discovered Príncipe and named this island after the saint of that day: Santo António. In 1502 it was renamed Príncipe, its largest town kept the name Santo António.
Both islands were previously uninhabited. Portugal initially settled prisoners here and brought 1493 children of Jews here as a result of the Inquisitionwere followed. The children were taken from their parents, forcibly baptized, and taken to São Tomé. Portuguese traders soon also settled here. The islands became a transshipment point, especially for slaves, who were brought from here to Brazil and the Caribbean islands.

Colony of Portugal

In 1572 São Tomé and in 1573 also Príncipe officially became a Portuguese colony. Plantations for sugar cane were created. Slaves from Angola in particular managed to escape again and again. They settled in remote areas. They were called Angolares. The Angolares, but also pirates, repeatedly attacked plantations in the 17th century. Some rich plantation owners therefore went to Brazil. Sugar production fell. Slave revolts also caused unrest.

In the 19th century, more and more coffee was grown, and from 1850 cocoa became the most important product. Slavery ended in 1869. In a transition period, however, slaves had to toil for a few more years. From 1875, Portugal began to recruit contract workers from mainland Africa. Their descendants, born in São Tomé, are called Tongas.

In 1909, large chocolate manufacturers boycotted cocoa from São Tomé because it was grown under such inhumane conditions. As a result, many forced laborers were able to return home. But now workers were missing again on the plantations. Portugal brought prisoners from Mozambique, then also a Portuguese colony, to São Tomé. Workers were hired from Cape Verde, also Portuguese at the time.

From independence until today

As in the other African colonies, the call for independence increased in the 20th century. On July 12, 1975 the time had come for São Tomé and Príncipe: The country was granted independence from Portugal. Manuel Pinto da Costa became the country’s first president. He ruled with the unity party MLSTP. Initially the course was socialist, from 1990 social democratic. There were several coup attempts that were fought off.

In 1991, however, he was replaced by Miguel Trovoada in the first free presidential elections to which he did not run. Apart from a military coup, he remained in office until 2001. The same happened to Fradique de Menezes, president until 2011. During his presidency there was a coup in 2003.

From 2011 Manuel Pinto da Costa ruled the country again. In 2016 Evaristo Carvalho became president.

Sao Tome and Principe Head of Government

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