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Sao Tome and Principe Government - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Country name

conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe

conventional short form: Sao Tome and Principe

local long form: Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe

local short form: Sao Tome e Principe

etymology: Sao Tome was named after Saint THOMAS the Apostle by the Portuguese who discovered the island on 21 December 1470 (or 1471), the saint's feast day; Principe is a shortening of the original Portuguese name of "Ilha do Principe" (Isle of the Prince) referring to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island's sugar crop were paid

Government type

semi-presidential republic


name: Sao Tome

geographic coordinates: 0 20 N, 6 44 E

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after Saint Thomas the Apostle

Administrative divisions

6 districts (distritos, singular - distrito), 1 autonomous region* (regiao autonoma); Agua Grande, Cantagalo, Caue, Lemba, Lobata, Me-Zochi, Principe*


12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday

Independence Day, 12 July (1975)


history: approved 5 November 1975

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage requires two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly; the Assembly can propose to the president of the republic that an amendment be submitted to a referendum; revised several times, last in 2006

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law based on the Portuguese model and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Sao Tome and Principe

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Carlos Manuel VILA NOVA (since 2 October 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Patrice TROVOADA (since 11 November 2022)

cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 18 July 2021 with a runoff on 5 September 2021 (next to be held in 2026); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president

election results:
2021: Carlos Manuel VILA NOVA elected president in the second round; percent of vote in the first round - Carlos Manuel VILA NOVA (IDA) 39.5%; Guilherme POSSER DA COSTA (MLSTP-PSD) 20.8%; Delfim NEVES (PCD-GR) 16.9%; Abel BOM JESUS (independent) 3.6%; Maria DAS NEVES (independent) 3.3%; other 15.9%; percent of the vote in second round - Carlos Manuel VILA NOVA 57.5%, Guilherme POSSER DA COSTA 42.5%

Evaristo CARVALHO elected president; percent of vote - Evaristo CARVALHO (ADI) 49.8%, Manuel Pinto DA COSTA (independent) 24.8%, Maria DAS NEVES (MLSTP-PSD) 24.1%; note - first round results for CARVALHO were revised downward from just over 50%, prompting the 7 August runoff; however, on 1 August 2016 DA COSTA withdrew from the runoff, citing voting irregularities, and Evaristo CARVALHO was declared the winner

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed party-list proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 September 2022 (next to be held 30 September 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party - ADI 46.81%, MLSTP/PSD 32.70%, MCI-PS -PUN 6.56%, BASTA Movement- 8.8%, other 5.14%; seats by party - ADI 30, MLSTP-PSD 18, MCI-PS -PUN 5, BASTA Movement 2; composition - men 47, women 8, percent of women 14.5%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal Justica (consists of 5 judges); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 5 judges, 3 of whom are from the Supreme Court)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the National Assembly; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly for 5-year terms

subordinate courts: Court of First Instance; Audit Court

Political parties and leaders

Union of Democrats for Citizenship and Development and Force for Democratic Change Movement or MDFM–UDD [Carlos Filomeno Agostinho DAS NEVES] 
Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Patrice TROVADA]
Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party or MLSTP-PSD [Jorge Lopes Bom JESUS]
Party for Democratic Convergence-Reflection Group or PCD-GR [Leonel Mario D'ALVA]
Movement of Independent Citizens of São Tomé and Príncipe [António Monteiro]
other small parties

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU, CD, CEMAC, CPLP, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)

chancery: 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 1604
New York, NY 101168

telephone: [1] (212) 317-0533

FAX: [1] (212) 317-0580

email address and website:

Sao Tome and Principe Permanent Mission to the United Nations

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Sao Tome and Principe; the US Ambassador to Angola is accredited to Sao Tome and Principe

mailing address: 2290 Sao Tome Place, Washington DC  20521-2290

Flag description

three horizontal bands of green (top), yellow (double width), and green with two black five-pointed stars placed side by side in the center of the yellow band and a red isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; green stands for the country's rich vegetation, red recalls the struggle for independence, and yellow represents cocoa, one of the country's main agricultural products; the two stars symbolize the two main islands

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National symbol(s)

palm tree; national colors: green, yellow, red, black

National anthem

name: "Independencia total" (Total Independence)

lyrics/music: Alda Neves DA GRACA do Espirito Santo/Manuel dos Santos Barreto de Sousa e ALMEIDA

note: adopted 1975

NOTE: The information regarding Sao Tome and Principe on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Sao Tome and Principe 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Sao Tome and Principe 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.