The presidential election in Cape Verde began on Sunday, with polling stations opening at 7:00 a.m. local time (0800 GMT).
A total of 398,864 voters, including 342,777 registered on the national territory and 56,087 abroad, were invited to go to the 1,294 polling stations throughout the country and abroad, according to the National Election Commission (CNE).
Two candidates stand out, including Carlos Veiga and Jose Maria Neves, among the seven seeking a five-year term as president of the Cape Verdean Republic.
Jose Maria Neves, who served as the prime minister from 2001 to 2016, was the first to present his candidacy supported by the African Independence Party of Cape Verde (PAICV).
Carlos Veiga, who also served as the prime minister from 1991 to 2000, ran for the third time for the president of the Cape Verde. He is supported by the Movement for Democracy (MpD) and the Independent and Democratic Cape Verdean Union (UCID).
All the candidates have already voted and have called for higher turnout and avoid the high rate of abstention recorded during the previous presidential elections in the country.
On Saturday, CNE President Maria do Rosario said at a press conference that the conditions were right for the presidential election “without any problems.”
“All the equipment necessary for the normal operation of the polling stations has already been delivered by the DGAPE (Directorate General of Support to the Electoral Process) to the delegates of the CNE abroad and on the national territory,” she said.
Outgoing President Jorge Carlos Fonseca, who also voted on Sunday, said that the Cape Verdeans had been “very wise” in choosing their representatives for decades.
He called on voters to go to the polls to exercise their right of vote and contribute to the process of building and improving a pluralistic democracy in the country.