Tag Archives: President Pinto da Costa

São Tomé and Príncipe – A new government has been formed

In the October parliamentary election the ADI party won an absolute majority in São Tomé and Principe’s parliament. On 25 November President Pinto Da Costa appointed Patrice Trovoada as the new Prime Minister. The new government is the country’s 16th constitutional government and the third single-party majority government since the first multiparty elections in 1991.

PM Trovoada’s government consist of 13 ministers of which 9* served in the ADI minority government (2010-2012). On 29 November and according to presidential decree 20/2014 the following ministers are appointed:

  1. Minister of the Presidency and of Parliamentary Affairs: Afonso Varela*
  2. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communities: Salvador dos Ramos*
  3. Minister of Defence and Sea: Carlos Olimpio Stock*
  4. Minister of Justice and Human Rights: Roberto Raposo
  5. Minister of Internal Administration: Arlindo Ramos*
  6. Minister of Finance and Public Administration: Américo de Oliveira Ramos*
  7. Minister of Economy and International Cooperation: Agostinho Fernandes*
  8. Minister of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment: Carlos Vila Nova*
  9. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: Teodorico Campos
  10. Minister of Employment and Social Affairs: Carlos Gomes*
  11. Minister of Health: Maria de Jesus Trovoada dos Santos
  12. Minister of Education, Culture and Science: Olinto Silva Sousa Daio*
  13. Minister of Youth and Sport: Marcelino Leal Sanches

President Pinto da Costa will again coexist with PM Trovoada. After winning the presidential election in August 2011 until December 2012 President Pinto da Costa (formally independent but co-founder of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP/PSD)) faced an ADI minority government led by PM Trovoada. The minority government fell after three opposition parties issued a censure motion, twenty months before the end of its four-year term.

Now, however, the ADI single-party government enjoys a majority in parliament, which strengthens significantly the PM’s position vis-à-vis the President.

Absolute single-party majorities have been the exception and not the rule in São Tomé for the past 25 years. Out of 16 constitutional governments, only three parties managed to secure a majority of seats in the 55-member parliament: PCD (33 seats, 54.4%) in 1991, MLSTP/PSD (31, 46.1%) in 1998 and ADI with 33 seats (38.01%) in 2014.[1]

Both the PCD and MLSTP/PSD single-party majority governments were sent home by the president in 1994 and 2001, respectively. Yet, the 2003 constitutional amendments, which came into effect in 2006[2] make it much more difficult for the president to dismiss the government.[3] This is particularly so in the case of a majority government.

A single-party majority government largely rules out conflict in the government and between the government and parliament. Moreover, it opens a window of opportunity for the ADI party to rapidly change (again) the electoral system, which is considered to be a source of political instability.[4]

[1] I would like to thank Dr. Gerhard Seibert of the Universidade da Integração Internacional da Lusofonia Afro-Brasileira (UNILAB) for providing me with this information.

[2] Seibert, G. (2009) ‘Instabilidade política e revisão constitucional: semipresidencialismo em São Tomé e Príncipe’, in Lobo, M. C. and Neto, O. A. (eds) Instabilidade política e revisão constitucional. semipresidencialismo em São Tomé e Príncipe, Lisbon: Instituto de Ciências Sociais, 201-230.

[3] So, formally, in 2006 São Tomé and Príncipe’s semi-presidential system changed from the president-parliamentary type of government to a premier-presidential one.

[4] Gorjão, P. (2010) ‘São Tomé and Príncipe: Heading into political instability as usual?’, IPRIS Viewpoints, 2.