The islands of Sao Tomé and Principe were colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century and were then used as a slave trading point. Later in the 19th century they began to export cocoa. After the decolonization in 1951 the country finally came to independence in 1975. A one-party-regime was installed which built up strong relations with the socialist countries and governed the state until a democratic constitution was introduced peacefully in 1990. It then allowed opposition parties and as a consequence first multiparty elections took place in 1991 . Since then several elections were held and so far democracy does work at least better than in most of the other African countries. Today STP is one of the least developed countries of the world with a gross domestic product of 46.5 million dollars but an external debt of 250.8 million dollars . Therefore it is dependent on international aid and interested in getting money from wherever possible. Besides it belongs to the so called micro states, the group of the smallest existing countries and thus has to face certain problems.
[...] It follows more democratic ideals and among its members are a big number of professionals and higher-educated persons. Miguel Trovoada the first president of STP after 1991 is a member of the PCD-GR. In 1992 they broke with president Trovoada who founded a new party with some of the former PCD-GR members which was called ADI. It is said that it maintained a cohesive leadership more capable of debating and formulating political and economic concerns and policy options, than other parties“. [...]
[...] Thus many international oil companies would like to benefit from the country and a little rush has begun. It is questionable if the country will earn a proportionate part of the prospective profit and if it will not be destabilised by the different interest groups competing about the oil. As it has been depicted the lack of money often is one of the reasons for problems in several fields. It leads to cronyism and corruption, bad living conditions and problems in making sure the implementation of human rights. [...]
[...] Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights There are no problems reported. Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status The government does not enforce discrimination but violence against women occurs. Moreover a gap between formal rights and reality is prevailing. Women actually do not participate in public life in the same way men do. It is a kind of machismo society in STP. Workers Rights The freedom of association and right to strike are guaranteed. [...]
[...] Analysis of parties, influence groups and the human rights situation in Sao Tomé e Principe The system of multipartyism parties in general Local elections have been held in Sao Tomé e Principe (STP) since the 16th century, but after the decolonisation in the 19th century a period of a socialist one-party-state took place. Secret ballot and party pluralism had not existed until the installation of the constitution in 1990. At the beginning six official parties were founded and finally the first free elections took were held 1991. [...]
[...] For example parties “distributed food, money, clothing and radios among the population during the 1991 election campaign.” The depicted situation of course has an influence on the way political decisions are made in STP. It a kind of informal decision-making because of the political culture of cronyism and the weakness of constitutional institutions often caused by the lack of money. Groups or families with a lot of money can gain much power even from abroad and so is not very astonishing that a dozen very rich families on STP control most of the political, economic and further public life. [...]
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