Pedro Pires

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Pedro Pires
Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires.jpg
3rd President of Cape Verde
In office
22 March 2001 – 9 September 2011
Prime MinisterJosé Maria Neves
Preceded byAntónio Mascarenhas Monteiro
Succeeded byJorge Carlos Fonseca
Prime Minister of Cape Verde
In office
8 July 1975 – 4 April 1991
PresidentAristides Pereira
António Mascarenhas Monteiro
Preceded byOffice created
Succeeded byCarlos Veiga
Personal details
Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires

(1934-04-29) 29 April 1934 (age 86)
Fogo, Overseas Province of Cabo Verde, Portugal
Political partyAfrican Party for the Independence of Cape Verde
Spouse(s)Adélcia Barreto
Alma materUniversity of Lisbon

Pedro de Verona Rodrigues Pires (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpedɾu vɨˈɾonɐ ʁuˈdɾiɡɨʃ ˈpiɾɨʃ]; born 29 April 1934) was the President of Cape Verde from March 2001 to September 2011. Before becoming President, he was Prime Minister from 1975 to 1991.

Life and career[edit]

Pires was born in a small village on Fogo, Cape Verde to Luís Rodrigues Pires and wife Maria Fidalga Lopes. Later, he studied at Liceu Gil Eanes and Escola Jorge Barbosa in Mindelo during the 1950s and later abroad at the University of Lisbon in Portugal at the Faculty of Sciences. He fled to Conakry in 1962, then Ghana and afterwards headed to Algeria; he was trained in Cuba, the Soviet Union and Guinea-Bissau. He attended the Second PAIGC Congress in 1973. Before independence, he returned to Praia, Cape Verde on a Portuguese military ship on October 13, 1974.

Prime Minister[edit]

Three days after the country became independent in 1975, he became the first Prime Minister of Cape Verde; the nation at the time was a one-party state under the rule of the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). He opposed apartheid in South Africa and opposed foreign intervention in Africa. On October 20–22, 1980, he visited Paris. He visited that city again in 1989 and met with French Prime Minister Michel Rocard on 11 May 1989. He held additional portfolio of Minister of Finance from 1986 to 1990.[1]

After the ruling PAICV decided to institute multiparty democracy in February 1990, Pires replaced President Aristides Pereira as General Secretary of PAICV in August 1990. The PAICV lost the multiparty parliamentary and presidential elections held in early 1991 and was left in opposition.

After being Prime Minister[edit]

At a party congress in August 1993, Pires was replaced as General Secretary by Aristides Lima and was instead elected as President of PAICV.[2] As a candidate for the party presidency at PAICV's September 1997 congress, he faced José Maria Neves[3] and prevailed with 68% of the vote.[4] He stepped down as PAICV President in 2000 in preparation for a presidential bid in the next year's election[5] and he was succeeded by Neves.[2] He officially announced his candidacy for the Presidency of Cape Verde on September 5, 2000.[6]

Pires was the PAICV candidate in the February 2001 presidential election, defeating former Prime Minister Carlos Veiga of the Movement for Democracy (MpD) in the second round by just 12 votes.[7][8][9] Pires took office on March 22; the MpD boycotted his inauguration, saying that the election was marred by a "non-transparent process".[10] As President, Pires appointed Neves as Prime Minister.[2]

As president[edit]

On April 22, 2002, Pires was received the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry of Portugal.[11]

On June 7, 2005, the president paid hommage to Sergio Frusoni and declared him one of the Greatest Crioulo poets.

Days later on 16 and 17 June, he met and talked with the French Minister of Cooperation Brigitte Girardin in Praia for discussions with the Europe Union for obtainance of a special status, fight against insecurity.

When he was president, in October 2005, he visited Brazil, the capital city Brasília and met the president at the time Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

He ran for a second term in the presidential election held on 12 February 2006 and again prevailed over Veiga, this time winning in the first round by a 51%-49% margin.[9]

In May 2008, he said that he favored a cautious, long-term approach to the formation of a United States of Africa, preferring that regional integration precede a continent-wide union. He attended the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-IV) at this time.[12]

On March 26 and 27 2009, he met together with the foreign minister José Brito, the French Minister of Immigration (which includes Solidarity Development) Éric Besson on examining projects for solidarity development.

After presidency[edit]

Pires was awarded the 2011 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The prize was awarded in recognition of Pires role in making Cape Verde a "model of democracy, stability and increased prosperity". The prize includes a monetary component of $5m.[13]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Adélcia Barreto Pires and has two children, Sara and Indira.

Awards and decorations[edit]


  1. ^ Antigos Ministros - Ministério das Finanças
  2. ^ a b c Political Parties of the World (6th edition, 2005), ed. Bogdan Szajkowski, page 113.
  3. ^ "Cape Verde: Opposition party congress opens", Radio Renascenca, Lisbon (, September 19, 1997.
  4. ^ "Cape Verde: Former PM elected leader of main opposition PAICV party", Radio Renascenca, Lisbon (, September 22, 1997.
  5. ^ "Cape Verde: Town council leader to run for PAIGC party leadership", RDP Africa web site (, May 29, 2000.
  6. ^ "Cape Verde: Former prime minister Pires to run for president in 2001 poll", RDP Africa web site (, September 6, 2000.
  7. ^ "New president for Cape Verde", BBC News, March 6, 2001.
  8. ^ "Cape Verde: National Election Commission declares Pedro Pires as new president", Televisao Publica de Angola (, March 5, 2001.
  9. ^ a b Elections in Cape Verde, African Elections Database.
  10. ^ "Cape Verde: Main opposition party boycotts presidential inauguration", PANA news agency (, March 23, 2001.
  11. ^ "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesa" (in Portuguese). Presidency of the Portuguese Republic. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Presidente cabo-verdiano prudente sobre Estados Unidos de África", Panapress, May 28, 2008 (in Portuguese).
  13. ^ "Cape Verde ex-leader Pedro Pires wins Mo Ibrahim prize". BBC News. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  14. ^ Republic of The Gambia – 43rd Independence Anniversary Celebration Archived 2011-08-09 at the Wayback Machine, accessed on 9 November 2012
  15. ^ a b Portuguese Honoriffic Orders (in Portuguese)
  16. ^ "Pedro Pires bestows Cape Verde's highest decoration upon Ramos-Horta". A Semana. 2011. Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2015.

External links[edit]

Political offices
New office Prime Minister of Cape Verde
Succeeded by
Carlos Veiga
Preceded by
António Mascarenhas Monteiro
President of Cape Verde
Succeeded by
Jorge Carlos Fonseca
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Festus Mogae
Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
Succeeded by
Hifikepunye Pohamba