President Fonseca wins second term in Cape Verde vote

Praia (Cape Verde) (AFP) - Cape Verde's President Jorge Carlos Fonseca has hailed his "historic" re-election at the helm of one of Africa's most stable democracies, with nearly complete results Monday showing him sweeping almost three quarters of the vote.

Without a strong challenger for the top post, Fonseca took a whopping 74 percent, according to the latest provisional results, which cover more than 90 percent of ballots cast in Sunday's election.

Independent candidates Albertino Graca and Joaquim Monteiro took 22.6 and 3.4 percent each.

Winning with such a large margin, Fonseca, 66, will embark on his second term in office without going through a runoff.

Fonseca swept the vote on all nine of Cape Verde's inhabited islands as well as an important diaspora contingent.

This made the result "an historic victory," Fonseca wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday night.

"I always thought I could win this election but I know that in a democracy there are no advance victories.

"I will continue to be a president for everyone no matter who they are," he added.

Fonseca's win was by no means a surprise, after his liberal Movement for Democracy (MFD) enjoyed a string of landslide victories earlier this year.

Fonseca had called on supporters to "say yes to freedom, justice and Cape Verde" and re-elect him for another five-year term, urging voters not to give in to fatigue caused by other electoral contests.

But in the event, abstentions soared in the Atlantic archipelago, reaching 64.1 percent.

The MFD's victories in a March general election and municipal polls in September dealt serious blows to the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), which consequently decided not to field a presidential candidate.

Fonseca's two rivals were veteran political campaigner Monteiro, 76, a key player in the country's fight for independence from Portugal, and university rector Graca, 57.

In 2011, Fonseca beat PAICV's Manuel Inocencio Sousawon in a runoff with 54 percent of the vote.

- Exemplary transparency -

African Union electoral observer Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, head of a team of 29 deployed for the vote, told AFP the former Portuguese colony was "an example as regards transparent elections".

Some 314,000 island residents and 47,000 citizens living abroad were registered to vote.

Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in July 1975, after an 11-year liberation war, and adopted a multi-party system in 1990.

Most executive power in Cape Verde resides with the prime minister, appointed by the president in consultation with parties represented in parliament and taking into account election results.

The president and members of parliament are elected every five years by universal suffrage.

About half the population of Cape Verde works in agriculture, which provides only 10 percent of the country's food needs, while tourism and remittances from the diaspora are also vital for the economy.

A lack of natural resources and infrastructure mean Cape Verde's economy is fragile, and the country runs a large trade deficit.

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