Cape Verde presidential runoff

Update: It looks like Fonseca is winning. If confirmed, it will mean a legislature with a majority from one party and a president from another party. This may seem odd to Americans, but such a situation is quite rare around the world.

Voters in Cape Verde are choosing a president today in a runoff election.

As Robert Elgie noted at his blog on 10 August, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, the candidate of the main opposition party, Movement for Democracy (MFD), won the plurality in the first round, with around 37%. Manuel Inocêncio Sousa, candidate of the ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) won 33%. Aristides Lima, an independent breakaway from the PAICV, picked up around 25%.

Cape Verde has a history of very close presidential elections, as well as both an electoral system (variable-magnitude “PR”) and electoral cycle that have shown a pronounced bias for the PAICV in the past. (See my summary of the 2006 elections.) The country is among the relatively few to use a “counterhoneymoon” cycle whereby legislative elections regularly precede presidential by a short time period. The legislature was elected in February–a much longer gap between elections than in the past, but still counterhoneymoon–and the PAICV won a majority.

Cape Verde has a premier-presidential system. If the MCD were to win today, it would presumably mean a period of cohabitation. Obviously this depends on how many of Lima’s voters return to the PAICV fold.

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