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Voting closes in Sao Tome presidential runoff

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By Reuters
Voting closes in Sao Tome presidential runoff
Voting closes in Sao Tome presidential runoff   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
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KINSHASA – Polls closed on Sunday in a presidential run-off in Sao Tome and Principe between the archipelago’s former infrastructure minister Carlos Vila Nova, who won the first round in July, and former prime minister Guilherme Posser da Costa.

Seen as a model of parliamentary democracy off the coast of Central Africa, Sao Tome is a focus of interest by the oil industry, with several firms exploring in the hope of finding significant reserves.

The country’s 123,000 registered voters will choose a successor to 79-year-old Evaristo Carvalho, who did not seek a second five-year term in the largely ceremonial post.

The election result is expected to be announced on Monday.

“I hope that this act goes smoothly, and that the results are presented without any surprises,” Carvalho said as he cast his vote, according to the Tela Non newspaper.

The second round of voting was delayed when the third-ranked candidate, Delfim Neves, alleged fraud and demanded a recount. The constitutional court ultimately rejected his request.

“We defend total transparency in this electoral act,” Vila Nova said at a voting station in a school in Sao Tome, according to Tela Non.

His rival Posser da Costa, who also voted earlier on Sunday, told Sao Tome’s state press agency STP that he hoped the election would not marred by irregularities.

In the last two decades Sao Tome’s economic growth has been largely driven by government expenditure backed by external aid and government borrowing, as well as agriculture, tourism and foreign investment in oil exploration, according to the World Bank.