Cape Verde celebrates for the third consecutive time on January 13, Freedom and Democracy Day, with a special solemn session in parliament and other activities across the country.
January 13 is the date on which, for the first time in 1991, Cape Verdeans exercised their right to vote in the first multiparty elections, after 16 years in a single party regime.
The first multiparty elections in the archipelago were won by the Movement for Democracy (MpD), which returned in 2016 to power after 15 years in opposition and to which the date is most associated.
The day was already a national holiday, but since 2017 the Cape Verdean Parliament celebrates the date with a special solemn session to recognize and dignify one of the most significant dates for the country, along with the Independence Day, celebrated on July 5.
The session, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 10:30 local time (11:30 in Lisbon) and will be attended by the highest entities of the State, being chaired by the President of the Republic, Jorge Carlos Fonseca.
The President of the National Assembly, Jorge Santos, and the representatives of the parties with parliamentary seats will also take the floor.
The day is marked a bit throughout the country with many political, cultural and sports activities, especially the Freedom Race, organized by the Praia Municipal Council and this year will have as godfather Neno, former Portuguese footballer of Cape Verdean origin.
The organization expects more than 5,000 people to participate in the race, set up in 2009 and has already brought figures from the world of sport to the Cape Verdean capital, such as the late Eusébio, the president of Benfica, Luís Filipe Vieira, the former soccer player Pedro Mantorras, judoka Nuno Delgado or athletes Fernanda Ribeiro and Rosa Mota.
January 13 also marks the beginning of the Republic Week, an initiative of the Presidency of the Republic, which goes until the following Sunday, National Heroes Day, a national holiday in Cape Verde and in Guinea Bissau, which marks the day of the assassination of Amílcar Cabral, the patron of the independence of these two countries, on January 20, 1973.
One of the activities of the Republic Week will be the holding of a national youth meeting at the Presidential Palace, where the theme under discussion will be “Building Peace and Democracy”.
In Santa Catarina de Santiago, the day will be marked with sports activities in the pedestrian zone of Assomada, with the slogan “Move for freedom”.