Manuel Pinto da Costa

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Manuel Pinto da Costa
Manuel Pinto da Costa.jpg
Pinto da Costa during an official visit to the United States in 1986
1st President of São Tomé and Príncipe
In office
3 September 2011 – 3 September 2016
Prime MinisterPatrice Trovoada
Gabriel Costa
Patrice Trovoada
Preceded byFradique de Menezes
Succeeded byEvaristo Carvalho
In office
12 July 1975 – 4 March 1991
Prime MinisterMiguel Trovoada
Celestino Rocha da Costa
Daniel Daio
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byLeonel Mário d'Alva (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1937-08-05) 5 August 1937 (age 82)
Água Grande, São Tomé and Príncipe
Political partyMLSTP/PSD (1975–2011)
Independent (2011–present)
Spouse(s)Maria Amelia Pinto da Costa

Manuel Pinto da Costa (born 5 August 1937) is a Santoméan economist and politician who served as the first President of São Tomé and Príncipe from 1975 to 1991.[1] He again served as President from 2011 to 2016.

Life and career[edit]

Educated in East Germany, he is fluent in Portuguese and German; until the early 1990s the MLSTP maintained extensive relations with Angola and the MPLA, with Pinto da Costa himself having enjoyed a friendly relationship with José Eduardo dos Santos, the President of Angola, extending back to when they were both young men.[2]

In 1991, the legalisation of opposition political parties led to the country's first election under a democratic system. Pinto da Costa did not contest the election and instead announced he would retire from politics; the MLSTP did not present an alternative candidate and Miguel Trovoada was elected unopposed. Despite his previous declaration, Pinto da Costa returned to contest elections in 1996, but was narrowly defeated, taking 47.26% of the vote, by Trovoada. In 2001, he ran against incumbent president Fradique de Menezes, who won a majority in the first round.[3][4]

Pinto da Costa was elected leader of the MLSTP in May 1998, he resigned from the party in February 2005 and Guilherme Posser da Costa was elected to succeed him.[5]

In the July 2011 presidential election, he ran as an independent, he won the most votes in the first round but failed to receive the required majority. In a run-off round on 7 August, he defeated rival Evaristo Carvalho from the ruling party Independent Democratic Action (Portuguese: Acção Democratica Independente, ADI), taking 53% of the votes.[6] During the campaign, he focused on the need for political stability and promised to tackle widespread corruption,[7] his bid was given the backing of most of the other major candidates, including former Prime Minister Maria das Neves, who claimed "Pinto da Costa's plan could bring more hope to our country".[8] Some analysts, however, raised concerns that the former president's victory might trigger a return to the authoritarian rule seen during his previous period in power,[9] he took office on 3 September 2011.

In 2016 election he qualified for the second round, but then boycotted the second round, so he stepped down and the market opposition won.


  1. ^ "Official website". Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  2. ^ John Ghazvinian. Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil. Orlando: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2007. pp. 231–232.
  3. ^ Veiga, Abel. "Sao Tome presidential vote set for run-off". Google News. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  4. ^ Elections in São Tomé and Príncipe, African Elections Database.
  5. ^ "Election de maréchal pour Guilherme Posser da Costa" Archived 20 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine,, 27 February 2006.
  6. ^ Agence France-Presse (8 August 2011). "Manuel Pinto da Costa eleito Presidente de São Tomé". Público (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  7. ^ Staff writers (8 August 2011). "Sao Tome independence leader Pinto da Costa wins poll". BBC News. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  8. ^ Veiga, Abel. "Former Sao Tome leader poised to retake power". Google News. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  9. ^ Felix, Bate; Neto, Ricardo (8 August 2011). "Sao Tome's Pinto da Costa wins presidential runoff". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
Political offices
New office President of São Tomé and Príncipe
Succeeded by
Leonel Mário d'Alva
Preceded by
Fradique de Menezes
President of São Tomé and Príncipe
Succeeded by
Evaristo Carvalho