Carlos Vila Nova, President of Sao Tome and Principe (since Oct 2, 2021)
Carlos Manuel Vila Nova is a São Toméan politician who is the fifth and current president of São Tomé and Príncipe, since 2 October 2021. He served as the minister of Public Works and Natural Resources (2010–2012) and minister of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and the Environment (2014–2018) in successive governments of Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada.
He was the Independent Democratic Action candidate for the 2021 presidential election. On 6 September, he was declared president-elect of São Tomé and Príncipe, receiving 58% of the vote and defeating Guilherme Posser da Costa of the MLSTP/PSD. On 14 September he was declared president by the Tribunal constitutional court.
Vila Nova was born in Neves, a city in Lembá District on the northern coast of São Tomé Island. He received a degree in telecommunications engineering from the University of Oran, Algeria in 1985, then returned to become the head of the computer department of the government Statistics Directorate. In 1988, he left the civil service to become a sales manager at the Hotel Miramar, which was then the only hotel in the country. He was promoted to Director of the Hotel Miramar in 1992. In 1997, he became Director of the hotel Pousada Boa Vista, and also founded his own travel agency Mistral Voyages. Vila Nova continued in the tourism industry until he entered politics in 2010.
Vila Nova served as Minister of Public Works and Natural Resources in the cabinet of Patrice Trovoada from 2010 until the government lost its majority in 2012. He was appointed Minister of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and the Environment when Trovoada’s Independent Democratic Action (ADI) regained the majority in 2014. In 2018, Vila Nova was elected to the National Assembly. He was nominated as the ADI’s candidate for the 2021 presidential election.
Vila Nova is married, and has two daughters.
Evaristo Carvalho, Former President of Sao Tome and Principe (Elected on Aug 7, 2016)
Evaristo do Espírito Santo Carvalho (born October 22, 1941) is a São Toméan politician who has been President of São Tomé and Príncipe since 3 September 2016. He was previously Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe from 7 July 1994 to 25 October 1994 and again from 26 September 2001 to 28 March 2002. He is a member of the Independent Democratic Action (ADI) party.
In the July 2016 presidential election, Carvalho won the most votes but fell slightly short of a majority, so a second round was held a few weeks later. However, Manuel Pinto da Costa, the incumbent president, withdrew from the 7 August runoff poll, alleging fraud in the July election. This effectively handed the presidency to Carvalho.
Manuel Pinto da Costa, Former President of São Tomé and Príncipe (since Sept 3, 2011)
Manuel Pinto da Costa (born 5 August 1937) is a Santoméan economist and politician who served as the first President of São Tomé and Príncipe from 1975 to 1991. He was again elected as President in August 2011 and takes office on 3 September 2011.
Educated in the German Democratic Republic, he is fluent in Portuguese and German. Until the early 1990s the MLSTP maintained extensive relations with Angola and the MPLA, with Pinto da Costa himself having enjoyed a friendly relationship with José Eduardo dos Santos, the President of Angola, extending back to when they were both young men.
In 1991, the legalisation of opposition political parties led to the country’s first election under a democratic system. Pinto da Costa did not contest the election and instead announced he would retire from politics. The MLSTP did not present an alternative candidate and Miguel Trovoada was elected unopposed. Despite his previous declaration, Pinto da Costa returned to contest elections in 1996, but was narrowly defeated, taking 47.26% of the vote, by Trovoada. In 2001, he ran against incumbent president Fradique de Menezes, who won a majority in the first round.
Pinto da Costa was elected leader of the MLSTP in May 1998. He resigned from the party in February 2005 and Guilherme Posser da Costa was elected to succeed him.
In the July 2011 elections, he ran as an independent. He won the most number of votes in the first round but failed to receive the required majority. In a run-off round on 7 August, he defeated rival Evaristo Carvalho from the ruling party Independent Democratic Action (Portuguese: Acção Democratica Independente, ADI), taking 53% of the votes. During the campaign, he focused on the need for political stability and promised to tackle widespread corruption. His bid was given the backing of most of the other major candidates, including former Prime Minister Maria das Neves, who claimed “Pinto da Costa’s plan could bring more hope to our country”. Some analysts, however, raised concerns that the former president’s victory may trigger a return to the authoritarian rule seen during his previous period in power.
Fradique de Menezes, Former President of São Tomé and Príncipe
Fradique de Menezes (born March 21, 1942) has been the President of São Tomé and Príncipe since 2001.
Fradique de Menezes was born on the then Portuguese colony of São Tomé in 1942, the son of a Portuguese man and a local woman. He attended high school in Portugal, and then studied Education and Psychology at the Free University of Brussels. Menezes is a successful businessman. He was foreign minister of São Tome and Príncipe from 1986 until 1987. He was elected President in July 2001 with about 55.2% of the vote, defeating Manuel Pinto da Costa, who received about 40%. Menezes took office on September 3, 2001. His eligibility as a candidate was questioned, since he also held Portuguese citizenship, but he renounced this and his candidacy was approved. On July 16, 2003, while he was away in Nigeria, there was a military coup d’etat led by Fernando Pereira, but Menezes was restored on July 23, 2003, following an agreement.
Menezes was re-elected on July 30, 2006, winning 60.58% of the vote and defeating Patrice Trovoada, son of former president Miguel Trovoada.