- The two contesters of Cape Verde's thrilling 2001 presidential elections, which only were won by 17 votes, are poised to repeat the close run in 2006. Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Carlos Veiga will formalise his candidacy for president of Cape Verde on Monday. Incumbent President Pedro Pires will follow a few days earlier.
Mr Veiga of the Cape Verdean Movement for Democracy (MPD) is reported to go for a second run at the presidency. 'A Semana' has learned that the MPD will present Mr Veiga - who only lost the 2001 poll by 17 votes - as its official candidate on Monday. Among the members of his campaign staff is the former leader of the small PCD party, Eurico Monteiro.
The mystery Carlos Veiga has cultivated regarding whether or not he will be a candidate in the February 2006 presidential elections will be undone Monday, 12 December, when he formalises his candidacy in a public act. The ceremony is scheduled to take place in the early evening at the National Assembly palace, according to information gathered by 'A Semana Online'.
Mr Veiga's campaign team has already been formed and is ready to work both in the country and in the diaspora, which apparently disproves the statements made last week by the candidate himself regarding his supposed doubts as to whether or not he would decide to run for President. Indeed, a fund-raising campaign is already well under way in Portugal, through a bank account in the name of Mr Veiga's daughter, Muxima Veiga. The numerous Cape Verdean diaspora has great influence in national polls.
In Cape Verde, one of the members of the former Prime Minister's campaign team is Eurico Monteiro, the former president of the small PCD party and Mr Veiga's colleague in the Order of Lawyers of Cape Verde. The MPD candidate thus seems to be running as the united opposition's candidate in February.
Also the ruling African Party of the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) is scheduled to present its candidate to the elections next week. Incumbent President Pedro Pires will officially announce his candidacy on Friday, 9 December. The official declaration is expected to take place in the National Library in Praia, the capital.
Mr Veiga's and Mr Pires' announcements will come only days before the deadline for the submittal of candidacy documents with the Supreme Court. 'A Semana Online' has learned that the gathering of signatures for the document is at an advanced stage. The law requires those intending to run for President to submit an application with at least 1,000 and no more than 4,000 signatures from registered voters. The gathering of signatures for Mr Veiga's candidacy on the island of São Vicente is what revealed the MPD politician's desire to run for the office.
The two rivals represent the two major political forces in Cape Verde, which was a one-party state headed by the PAICV until 1990. As the formerly Marxist ruling party opened up for multi-party elections, the conservative MPD rushed into government offices. Since that, however, the two parties have had to compete fiercely over votes in Cape Verde.
The 2001 elections for the mostly representative office of the President was one of the closest runs in history. A recount of the votes finally gave victory to Mr Pires of the PAICV with a majority of only 17 votes. Cape Verdeans also opted for the PAICV in the latest parliamentary elections, and the country is therefore ruled by a PAICV government headed by Prime Minister José Maria Neves. Mr Neves holds the most influential post in Cape Verdean politics.
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