Monday, April 03, 2006

Sao Tome Voters Awards President de Menezes Another Bloc: A Majority In Parliament

Sao Tome has awarded a new "bloc" - this one a parliamentary majority of 35 of the nation's 53 parlieamentary seats, and the winner is President Fradique de Menezes, who in the past has been an ally of ERHC Energy chairman Sir Emeka Offor.

The Reuters news agency reported that President de Menezes' own ADI party won 20 percent of the vote, or 12 seats, while a coalition allied with him took 25. That left the ruling leftist MLSTP party and its coalition partner PSD, which won just 19 seats after taking an obstructionist position throughout the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Zone licensing process, out of power for the first time in many years.

Here is the Reuters story:

SAO TOME (Reuters) - A coalition backed by Sao Tome and Principe President Fradique de Menezes has won legislative elections in the tiny West African archipelago, electoral authorities said.

The MDFM-PCD coalition took 37.2 percent of the vote equivalent to 23 of the 55 parliamentary seats, the president of the National Electoral Commission Jose Carlos Barreiro announced late on Sunday.

The ruling centre-left MLSTP-PSD coalition -- which previously held the highest number of parliamentary seats -- came second with 28.9 percent of the vote, equivalent to 19 seats, the commission said.

Third came de Menezes' own ADI party with 20.0 percent, equivalent to 12 parliamentary seats. The Movimento Novo Rumo (MNR) party took the remaining seat with 5.1 percent of the vote.

The results included ballots from 18 districts which voted on Sunday, a week later than the rest of the electorate, due to protests over a lack of basic services such as water and electricity in their neighbourhoods.

The volcanic islands have become an international oil exploration hotspot following major discoveries in nearby Equatorial Guinea, sparking hopes of a better life among the islands' 180,000 poor inhabitants.

The election results still require confirmation from Sao Tome's highest court, expected within a week, after the MLSTP-PSD denounced electoral fraud. Around 40 foreign observers who scrutinised the March 26 vote said it met international standards.

Abstention was 36.0 percent of the 79,849 registered voters.

Since the last parliamentary elections in 2002, Sao Tome has been shaken by a brief coup, corruption scandals and a succession of fallen governments.

UPdate: A note from Mutwadadi says Reuters has made a mistake about the ADI. It is not President de Menezes' party, but an independent one. He also comments - and get this - that "real companies" are now looking at Block s 5 and 6:


reuters has made a mistake.

adi is the party of the trovoada family. it has no alliance with any party. it could go with either mlstp or menezes' mfdm, depending on who offers the better deal.

or the mfdm could try to form a minority government.

the constitution gives the largest party 60 days to form a government.

there are no real implications for the jdz process, although the result is a big disappointment locally for the mlstp.

meantime, there appears to be real interest from real companies in blocks 5 and 6.


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