- In August, the government plans to present a proposal to parliament calling for the revision of Cape Verde’s Electoral Code. This, according to the government, is intended to put an end to the current system’s points of tension, while at the same time guaranteeing the transparency of electoral acts in the country.
With regards to the voter registration process, the government has proposed a permanent registration system for all citizens of voting age, both in the country and in Cape Verdean communities abroad. The executive’s proposal would also make it mandatory for those wishing to register to vote or update their voter registration to present Identity Cards or passports. And, in order to dissipate the suspicions of fraud that have marked elections in Cape Verde, the government’s proposal calls for the use of indelible ink to mark the fingers of voters on election days.
Among the various other aspects of Cape Verde’s Electoral Code the government intends to alter is the distribution of seats in the National Assembly. Instead of the current system, which distributes seats in parliament based on municipality, each island would be represented by a single electoral circle, with the exception of Santiago, which, as home to half of the country’s population, would be divided into two electoral circles, North Santiago and South Santiago.
According to the Prime Minister’s Adjunct Minister and Defense Minister, Cristina Fontes Lima, who publicly presented the government’s proposal during a press conference today, this change is aimed at guaranteeing greater proportionality in the Cape Verdean system, without, however, compromising principles of governability. “We do not want an electoral system that impedes the formation of stable majorities, because this is, indeed, a condition for the country’s stable development,” affirmed Fontes Lima.
The revision in the Electoral Code will require a two-thirds majority to pass in the National Assembly. As such, it remains to be seen whether the two largest political parties in parliament, the PAICV and the MpD, will this time around manage to reach a consensus by August on the revision of the Electoral Code. If such a consensus is not reached, the opposition MpD holds enough seats to block the initiative, which would likely mean the return of the usual climate of mutual suspicion and accusations in the country’s next electoral event.
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