This article examines the substance behind the claim that Cape Verde, a small archipelago state off the west coast of Africa, is the best country in Africa for political rights and civil liberties. Based on interviews conducted with 22 key informants in government, the judiciary, the legislature and civil society, it explores the electoral process, the political parties, the functioning of the National Assembly, civil and political rights, the judicial system, civil society and economic equality. It finds that Cape Verde's unique geography and history have played a key role in facilitating good governance, and an open and non-violent society that values the real political gains of 1991. However, democracy has not yet eradicated either gender discrimination, dependence on the diaspora or poverty.
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