August 2, 2010 / 1:10 PM / 10 years ago

Sao Tome opposition wins poll, seeks coalition gov't

SAO TOME, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Sao Tome and Principe’s opposition ADI party won Sunday’s parliamentary election, according to provisional results, but fell short of a majority so will have to seek coalition partners to form a government.

If the results are confirmed, the current prime minister will have to step down, potentially leading to a period of instability in the tiny Gulf of Guinea island nation, which hopes to become an oil producer in the next eight years.

The ADI won 26 of the 55 seats in parliament, ahead of Prime Minister Rafael Branco’s MLSTP-PSD, which won 21 seats, and the PCD, which won seven. President Fradique de Menezes’s MDFM-PL party won just one seat.

ADI leader Patrice Trovoada is expected to be the next prime minister, but Branco will remain in his post until the results are confirmed, a process that is expected to take several weeks.

The ADI announced on Monday that it would enter into talks with the PCD over forming a coalition to run the country for the next four years.

There was no trouble after the last parliamentary elections in 2006, but a number of governments have since fallen, there have been mutinies by police, and rows between coalition partners in government.

The nation of 160,000, which depends on its cocoa industry for the bulk of its revenues, launched the bidding process for seven of its 19 exclusive oil blocks in March with bids due from oil companies in mid-September. (Reporting by Ricardo Neto; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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