President & Prime Minister of Cape Verde

Jorge Carlos

Jorge Carlos

Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca (born 20 October 1950) is a lawyer and university professor who became President of Cape Verde on September 9, 2011. Previously he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1991 to 1993. Supported by the Movement for Democracy (MpD), he won the 2011 presidential election in a second round of voting.

Jorge Fonseca made his primary and secondary education between Praia and Mindelo, and later, his higher education in Lisbon. He graduated in Law and a Master in Legal Sciences Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon.

Political and academic career

He was Director General of Emigration in Cape Verde from 1975 to 1977 and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde from 1977 to 1979.

He was a graduate teaching assistant at the Faculty of Law, University of Lisbon between 1982 and 1990, invited Professor of Criminal Law at the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Lisbon in 1987 and a resident director and invited associate professor at the Law Course and Public Administration at the University of Asia Oriental, Macau in 1989 and 1990.

Between 1991 and 1993 he was Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first government of the Second Republic; subsequently he stood unsuccessfully as a presidential candidate in the 2001 election. Ten years later, in August 2011, he again sought the presidency, this time backed by the MpD. He placed first in the first round, receiving 38% of the votes; in the second round, he faced the candidate backed by the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), Manuel Inocêncio Sousa, and prevailed. He took office as President on 9 September 2011, becoming Cape Verde’s fourth president since independence in 1975.

He was assistant professor and chairman of the board of the Institute for Law and Social Sciences in Cape Verde.

He is also founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the “Direito e Justiça” Foundation, founder and director of the magazine “Direito e Cidadania”, collaborator to the magazine “Revista Portuguesa de Ciência Criminal”, and a member of the editorial board of “Revista de Economia e Direito” of the Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa. He is also the author of several books and over fifty scientific and technical work in the field of law, and has published two books of poetry.

Awarded several times by the State of Cape Verde, is also holder of the status of Freedom Fighters of the Country.

José Maria Pereira Neves, Prime Minister of Cape Verde

José Maria Pereira Neves

José Maria Pereira Neves

José Maria Pereira Neves (born March 28, 1960) is the Prime Minister of Cape Verde. He has been Prime Minister since 1 February 2001 and is a member of the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Part of his superior education was in the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in Brazil. Between August 12 and 16 of 2005, he visited eight state capitals of Brazil including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Goiânia, Recife, Maceió, João Pessoa, Natal and Fortaleza and received an audience from the Brazilian president as well on August 22.

Neves is also a supporter of EU membership for Cape Verde.

While acknowledging the harmful effects of slavery and colonialism on Africa, Neves has said that African leaders are primarily responsible for the continent’s problems today, and that they “must assume their responsibility to develop a clear strategy for Africa’s future that takes advantage of all of its human capabilities and natural resources.”

Pedro Pires, President of Cape Verde (since March 2001)

Pedro Pires, President of Cape Verde (since March 2001)

Pedro Pires, President of Cape Verde (since March 2001)

After the ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) decided to institute multiparty democracy in February 1990, Pires replaced President Aristides Pereira as General Secretary of PAICV in August 1990. The PAICV lost the multiparty parliamentary and presidential elections held in early 1991 and was left in opposition. At a party congress in August 1993, Pires was replaced as General Secretary by Aristides Lima and was instead elected as President of PAICV. As a candidate for the party presidency at PAICV’s September 1997 congress, he faced José Maria Neves and prevailed with 68% of the vote. He stepped down as PAICV President in 2000 in preparation for a presidential bid in the next year’s election and he was succeeded by Neves. He officially announced his candidacy for the Presidency of Cape Verde on September 5, 2000.

Pires was the PAICV candidate in the February 2001 presidential election, defeating former Prime Minister Carlos Veiga of the Movement for Democracy (MpD) in the second round by just 17 votes. Pires took office on March 22; the MpD boycotted his inauguration, saying that the election was marred by a “non-transparent process”. As President, Pires appointed Neves as Prime Minister. He ran for a second term in the presidential election held on 12 February 2006 and again prevailed over Veiga, this time winning in the first round by a 51%-49% margin.

In May 2008, he said that he favored a cautious, long-term approach to the formation of a United States of Africa, preferring that regional integration precede a continent-wide union. He attended the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-IV) at this time.