President Jorge Carlos Fonseca has resigned after serving the maximum of two five-year terms permitted by the constitution.
Neves won 51.7 percent of the votes according to the official results of 99.4 percent of the polling stations, while Veiga received 42.4 percent and five other candidates earned less than 2 percent each.
Veiga, who was prime minister between 1991 and 2000 and stood for Fonseca’s center-right Movement for Democracy (MPD), admitted defeat Sunday night.
“The will of the people was heard and the will of the people was granted,” he said in a statement. “I want to congratulate José María on his election as president of the republic.”
���� José Maria Neves (PAICV, centre-left) has been elected new President of Cape Verde, with more than 51% of the votes in the first round.
He succeeds Jorge Carlos Fonseca (MpD, centre-right). This is the first victory of a PAICV candidate in a presidential election since 2006. https://t.co/GokZ2ZeLn8
Neves belongs to the left-wing African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), saying he wants to be a president “who unites, protects and cares.”
“I must say that it is a great responsibility to preside over the Cape Verdean nation in these difficult times, and I receive this victory with the great humility that has always characterized me,” he told his followers.
The transfer of power will be the fourth between the major parties since the independence of Portugal in 1975, consolidating Cape Verde’s status as a stable democracy in Africa.
After the party maintained its parliamentary majority in the April legislative elections, Neves will work alongside an MPD prime minister.
The Cape Verdean economy contracted 14 percent in 2020 as border closures isolated tourists from Cape Verde’s beaches and mountains. Yet, it is expected to recover this year with a growth of nearly 6 percent.