June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Sao Tome and Principe voters will choose from 13 candidates, including the country’s first leader, Manuel Pinto da Costa, in a presidential election planned for July 17, according to the country’s Supreme Court.
Two women, including former Prime Minister Maria das Neves and Elsa Pinto, who was minister of national security, are running as independent candidates.
Opposition leader Aurelio Martins of the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe/Social Democratic Party and Evaristo Carvalho, a former prime minister, are also in the running, according to a document from the court, which set yesterday as the deadline for candidates.
President Fradique de Menezes will step down after serving two five-year terms in office. He is not eligible to run again, according to the country’s policies.
Pinto da Costa became leader after the islands gained independence from colonial ruler, Portugal, in 1975. 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.
Sao Tome and Principe is Africa’s second-smallest country by population after Seychelles, with about 169,000 people. Its gross domestic product of $1,171 per capita compares with the sub-Saharan African average of $1,127, according to the World Bank.
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