Maria das Neves

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Maria das Neves
Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe
In office
3 October 2002 – 18 September 2004
President Fradique de Menezes
Fernando Pereira (Acting)
Fradique de Menezes
Preceded by Gabriel Costa
Succeeded by Damião Vaz d'Almeida
Personal details
Born 1958 (age 55–56)
Overseas Province of São Tomé and Príncipe, Portugal
Political party Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe

Maria das Neves Ceita Baptista de Sousa (born 1958) is a former Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe.

She is a member of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe-Social Democratic Party (MLSTP-PSD).

Before becoming head of government, Maria das Neves worked as a civil servant in the Ministry of Finance and in the African Development Bank. She held major government posts as Minister of Economics (1999-2001) and of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism (2002).

Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe[edit]

She held the post of Prime Minister from 3 October 2002 until 18 September 2004, and was the nation's first female head of government. President Fradique de Menezes appointed das Neves as a Prime Minister after the previous three-party Government of National Unity led by Gabriel Costa collapsed following complaints from the army over recent promotions.

Prime Minister Maria das Neves is also a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

Coup-d'état, 2003; subsequent events[edit]

On 16 July 2003, she was detained and briefly hospitalized after suffering a mild heart attack during a short-lived coup d'état. Other key government officials were also detained. The democratically elected government was restored a week later.

Maria das Neves resigned as Prime Minister on 1 August 2003,[1] but three days later President Menezes reaffirmed his confidence in her. She retained her post when a new cabinet was sworn in on 9 August 2003.

President Menezes dismissed her from the post on 15 September 2004 and asked her party to choose a new Prime Minister, after allegations of corruption were brought against her and members of her government which led to a near total collapse of her government. She denies participating in any corrupt practices. Three days after her dismissal, a new government led by Damião Vaz d'Almeida was sworn in.


  1. ^ "São Toméan PM steps down after coup", afrol News, August 1, 2003.
Political offices
Preceded by
Gabriel Costa
Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe
Succeeded by
Damião Vaz d'Almeida