The main political groups in contention were the alliance between the President de Menezes' Force for Change Democratic Movement and the Democratic Convergence Party; the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (MLSTP), which ruled the nation as a single-party Marxist state from independence until 1991 and the Uê Kédadji, a coalition of five parties.
The campaign focused on promises to use projected oil revenue to modernise agriculture, improve education and attract foreign investment. The run-up to the elections was clouded by allegations that some parties had distributed money to voters. The MLSTP leader claimed that the other political forces were spending large amounts of foreign funds for campaigning, accusations which were denied by these parties.
About 60 per cent of the country's nearly 61,000 voters cast ballots, and international observers declared the elections free and fair.
The elections failed to produce a clear winner, as the opposition MLSTP took 24 of the 55 seats in Parliament, just one more than President de Menezes' Force for Change Democratic Movement. The eight remaining seats went to a coalition led by the Independent Democratic Action of former President Miguel Trovoada.
On 27 March 2002, President Fradique de Menezes ended three weeks of political deadlock by asking the country's envoy to Portugal, Gabriel Costa, to form a government. The latter formed a government with representatives from the three main political coalitions.
Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union