Officially: República Democrática de São Tomé e Príncipe.
English: Sao Tome and Principe.
Seat of government: São Tomé.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly. Parliament (Assembleia Nacional) is elected in multi-member geographical constituencies, modified by party-list proportional representation.
Chief governing party: Acção Democrática Independente.
Heads of government: Manuel Pinto da Costa, president; Patrice Trovoada, ADI, prime minister.
Chief parliamentary opposition party: Movimento de Libertação de São Tomé e Príncipe – Partido Social Democrata.
Other parliamentary parties: Partido de Convergência Democrática – Grupa de Reflexão; União dos Democratas para Cidadania e Desenvolvimento.
Recent history: Pinto da Costa ran a one-party (MLSTP) state as the first president (1975-91). Elections were introduced in 1991, won handily by PCD-GR, but independent Miguel Trovoada (father of Patrice) was elected to the presidency unopposed after the MLSTP chose not to field an candidate and two others dropped out. In 1994, Trovoada dismissed prime minister Norberto d’Alva Costa Alegre to protect his own power, but was forced to call a new election when PCD-GR would not cooperate. The renamed MLSTP-PSD won a plurality and Carlos da Graça, a leading opponent of the old régime, became premier; he was deposed in a coup in 1995, but restored a week later. Trovoada was reelected in a 1996 contest, standing for ADI, defeating Pinto da Costa of MLSTP-PSD in a runoff. The MLSTP-PSD won a majority in 1998 elections. In the 2001 presidential election, Fradique de Menezes of ADI won in the first round, with Pinto da Costa as his nearest rival. In 2002 parliamentary elections, the MLSTP-PSD won a miniscule plurality over a coalition of Movimento Democrático das Forças da Mudança – Partido Liberal and PCD-GR, with Uê Kédadji a distant third; Gabriel Costa of MLSTP-PSD became prime minister briefly, followed by Maria Neves (2002-4); that government was temporarily overthrown by soldiers in 2003, led by military-academy commandant Fernando Pereira, and the elected government was forced to make concessions to end the putsch. Damião Vaz d’Almeida (2004-5) and Maria do Carmo Silveira (2005-6) also served as premier in that parliament. In 2006, the MDFM-PL and PCD-GR together won a slight plurality over the MLSTP-PSD, with ADI in third. Tomé Vera Cruz (2006-8) of MDFM-PL became prime minister. Later that year, Menezes was reelected, again in the first round, but standing for MDFM-PL, with the ADI running Patrice Trovoada. A 2010 parliamentary election saw ADI finish just short of a majority. Pinto da Costa won election as president in a 2011 runoff as an independent, defeating former PM Evaristo Carvalho of ADI in a runoff. In 2014, ADI won a strong parliamentary majority.
FH: 2-2, free.
Updated: 2015 February 22.