August 8, 2011 / 9:24 AM / 8 years ago

Sao Tome's Pinto da Costa wins presidential runoff

Sao Tome, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Manuel Pinto da Costa, a former president of Sao Tome and Principe, won a presidential election run-off in the tiny Gulf of Guinea island state, the election comission confirmed on Monday.

Pinto da Costa, a 74-year-old economist by training, ruled the former Portuguese colony from independence in 1971 to 1991.

Sao Tome’s national elections commission said Pinto da Costa won Sunday’s second round vote with 52.88 percent against his opponent, parliament speaker Evaristo Carvalho.

Pinto da Costa said during the campaign that his priority would be to find ways to improve the Central African nation’s economy after the oil sector failed to produce any major finds.

The newly elected president told Reuters after the provisional results were announced on Sunday that his other priority would be to fight corruption and poverty in the Atlantic archipelago of about 140,000 people.

The Sao Tome government is keen to develop tourism in a country with largely unspoilt, palm-fringed beaches. It also has a small cocoa sector with a reputation for high-quality beans. (Reporting by Ricardo Neto; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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