Freedom in the World
You are here
São Tomé and Príncipe
Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
The ruling Liberation of São Tomé and Principe/Social Democratic Party won regional and municipal elections held in July 2010, while the opposition Independent Democratic Action (ADI) party captured the most seats in the August parliamentary elections. ADI leader Patrice Trovoada was appointed prime minister, though his party did not hold an absolute majority in the National Assembly. In January, President Fradique de Menezes pardoned one of the two people convicted in connection to an alleged coup plot uncovered in February 2009.
São Tomé and Principe gained independence from Portugal in 1975. President Manuel Pinto da Costa’s Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Principe—later the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Principe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP-PSD)—was the only legal political party until a 1990 referendum established multiparty democracy. Former prime minister Miguel dos Anjos Trovoada returned from exile and won the first democratic presidential election in 1991. He was reelected for a final term in 1996.
São Tomé and Principe is an electoral democracy. The 2010 parliamentary elections were free and fair, as were the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2006. The president is elected for up to two five-year terms. Members of the unicameral, 55-seat National Assembly are elected by popular vote to four-year terms. Four party blocs currently hold seats in the legislature, but a number of other parties exist.