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Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century - all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. While independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections in 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.


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Government

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

Government type
Republic

Capital
Name Sao Tome
Geographic coordinates 0 20 N, 6 44 E
Time difference
UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
2 provinces; Principe, Sao Tome
Note
Principe has had self government since 29 April 1995

Independence
12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

Constitution
Approved March 1990, effective 10 September 1990

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil law base on the Portuguese model and customary law

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Manuel Pinto DA COSTA (since 3 September 2011)
Head of government
Prime Minister Patrice Emery TROVOADA (since 14 August 2010)
Cabinet
Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister
Elections
President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 July and 7 August 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president
Election results
Manuel PINTO DA COSTA elected president in a run-off election; percent of vote - Manuel PINTO DA COSTA 52.9%, Evaristo CARVALHO 47.1%

Legislative branch
Unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections
Last held on 1 August 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ADI 26, MLSTP-PSD 21, PCD 7, MDFM 1

Judicial branch
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the National Assembly); Constitutional Court (five judges appointed by the National Assembly for five year terms); Court of First Instance; Audit Court

Political parties and leaders
Force for Change Democratic Movement or MDFM [Tome Soares da VERA CRUZ]; Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Patrice TROVOADA]; Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party or MLSTP-PSD [Rafael BRANCO]; New Way Movement or NR; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Delfim NEVES]; Ue-Kedadji coalition; other small parties

Political pressure groups and leaders
Association of Sao Tome and Principe NGOs or FONG
Other The media

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

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission
Ambassador Ovidio Manuel Barbosa PEQUENO
Chancery
1211 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone [1] (202) 775-2075, 2076
FAX [1] (202) 775-2077

Diplomatic representation from the us
The US does not have an embassy in Sao Tome and Principe; the Ambassador to Gabon is accredited to Sao Tome and Principe on a nonresident basis and makes periodic visits to the islands

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 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


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  Sao Tome And Principe (Sao Tome):


  GPS points from Sao Tome And Principe (Sao Tome)

Rio Contador Sao Tome

Tras Os Montes Sao Tome

Rozema Sao Tome

Muongo Sao Tome

Sao Manoel Sao Tome

Germinia Antonia Principe

Morro Vigia Sao Tome

Dona Eugenia Sao Tome




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