Praia, Cabo Verde, 17 October 2021 – Cabo Verde’s 398,864 registered voters went to the poll on Sunday, 17 October, 2021, to elect a new president from among seven candidates, including two former Prime-Minister frontrunners.
By 7am (9h00GMT) when voting was billed to start, the voters were only trickling into the polling stations in Praia, capital of the nation and Santiago Island, with the largest concentration of voters.
Similar reports were received from other Islands of the mountainous insular nation.
When Gen Salou Djibo, Head of the ECOWAS election Observation Mission visited several polling stations including PR-A-01and PR-A-02 located within the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, where polling officials were still setting up their wares.
The first voter, Ms Cristina Deise, 34, cast her ballot at 7.15am at polling station PR-A-02 with 397 registered voters, the maximum per polling station is 450 registered voters.
Like PR-A-01, the two stations at EBI School Capelinha in Achada Santo Antonio, Praia, had registered no voters by 7.30am when Gen. Djibo and his delegation, including Gen. Francis Behanzin, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security visited. Stations PR-AC-02 and PR-A-03 with 343 and 344 registered voters, respectively, had not recorded any voters by 7.30am.
The situation was similar at the polling stations located within the Claridade Secondary School at Tira Chapeau. Station PR-A-09, with 419 registered voters had recorded no votes by 7.45am.
Agents of the two main candidates, former Prime Ministers Carlos Veiga, 72, and Jose Neves, 61, were at most of the polling stations visited with a few unarmed police officers seen standing some distance away from the polling precinct.
A polling official explained that the situation was not unusual given the low turn-out of voters recorded in the past two elections (2016 and April 2021) on the Archipelago with an estimated population of 550,000 people.
Gen Djibo underscored the calm atmosphere and the fact that polling agents and materials were ready.
“Everything appears smooth, orderly and peaceful,” he said.
Like the polling officials, he also expressed optimism that the voting process would pick up during the day. Balloting ends at 6pm.
Close to 57,000 Cabo Verdeans are also voting in 21 countries abroad.
The political contest is tight, but given the country’s track record in political stability and electronic transmission of results, the outcome of Sunday’s balloting is expected to be known within days.
If none of the seven candidates scores the constitutional 50% +1 vote, a run-off will take place on October 31 between the two candidates with the most votes.