President Fradique Melo de Menezes 69 has been president of São Tomé and Príncipesince 2001 and will step down after serving two five-year terms in office, since he is not eligible to run again, according to the country's policies.
We present to you brief profiles of the ten (10) candidates who will be vying for the highest seat in the archipelago come July 17th;
Aurélio Pires Quaresma Martins, 45 is the presidential candidate for the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP/PSD) the largest opposition party in the archipelago. He is a São Toméan journalist, businessman and politician. Aurelio emerged leader of the MLSTP/PSD), after overwhelmingly defeating his only rival, Jorge Amado, by 783 votes to 283 during their January congress. Should he win the mantle to rule the archipelago on the July 17th polls, his vice presidents will be Jorge Bom Jesus, Leonida Presentation and Beatriz Sequeira d'Azevedo and Fernando Maquengo will be Secretary-General.
Evaristo do Espírito Santo Carvalho 69 is in the race on the ticket of the ruling party, Independent Democratic Action (ADI) party. He is a former prime ministerof São Tomé and Príncipe and held the post on two occasions - 7 July 1994 to 25 October 1994and 26 September 2001 to 28 March 2002 and is currently the president of Parliament. Election pundits believe that as a leader of the party in government, Evaristo Carvalho might enjoy the advantage of the incumbency. He has also held positions as the Minister of Defense and Internal Order and Minister of Construction, Transport and Communications in the country.
Muller William D'Alva Costa Alegre 59 is an independent candidate in the upcoming presidential race. He is a lawyer by profession. He started his public service career from the Ministry of Justice then later served as the principal legal advisor at the Central Bank. An article on Muller by the Tele Non newspaper in Sao Tome and Principe has described him as the only candidate with the most progressive vision for the country, since he is a different politician from the rest and is intellectually balanced, moderate and conciliatory.
Jorge Coelho, 53. He was Chairman of the Board of the National Company for Airports and Aviation Safety (ENASA) and holds two master's degrees, Economics and Information Systems Digital, obtained at the University of Illinois. Jorge Coelho was counselor to the Minister of Public Works and served as a senior economist at the National Petroleum Agency in Sao Tome & Principe. He's currently a professor in the Department of African Studies at Ohio State University. Jorge speaks English, Russian, Portuguese, French, Spanish and the Foro dialect. As a man conscious of the effect of the new media, Coelho has a website which provides a link to his twitter page.
Manuel de Deus Lima "Minho", 52 an economist is the current ambassador to Gabon. In 2002, then head of the Central Bank of the country, he was imprisoned for two (2) years on charges of embezzlement. After the legislative elections in 2006, he was made Minister of Natural Remedies.
Manuel Pinto da Costa, 75, an independent candidate, was the first to announce his candidacy. He is a former President and the oldest candidate. He became leader after the islands gained independence from their colonial ruler, Portugal, in 1975 and ruled for 15 years. He established a one-party state and led until 1990, when the country legalized opposition groups and held elections in 1991, according to the U.S. State Department. He played an important role in the transition from single party to multiparty system. He has just published a book entitled Terra Firme, where he outlines the errors over the 15 years of single party democracy and traces the path for the future.
Maria das Neves de Souza, 52, is a former Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe and was the first African woman to head a government. She held the post of Prime Minister from 3 October 2002 until 18 September 2004 after allegations of corruption were brought against her. She is a member of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe-Social Democratic Party (MLSTP-PSD). Before ascending the position as head of government, she worked at the Ministry of Finance and the African Development Bank. She also held major government positions as the Minister of Economics (1991-2001) and the Minister for Commerce, Industry and Tourism in 2002.
Hélder Barros, 59, an independent candidate, was Minister of Economic Coordination between July and October 1994, in the government led by Evaristo Carvalho, who is also contesting the poll. Currently he works with the United Nations.
Elsa Pinto, 45 was the first Sao Tome and Principe woman to occupy the post of Minister of National Defense. Elsa Pinto has served in different capacities in the Central Administration of the State. She has also served as governor of the Central Bank of Sao Tome and Principe (BCSTP), minister of justice, and minister of parliamentary affairs. She sees her candidature as opportunity for Sao Tome and Principe to consolidate the process of change.
Delfim Neves, 46 was Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure and will represent the Democratic Party Convergence (PCD). Throughout his campaign, he has promised to unite the nation of Sao Tome, to achieve progress and social welfare. His candidature was previously annuled by the Supreme Court but was later called back.