The Constitution instituted in September 1992 formally declared the Second Republic and emphasized human rights, equality of all citizens, a commitment to democratic principles, and full participation of all citizens. It was revised by Pires's predecessor, President Mascarenhas, in 1999 to give more power to the president.
Pires and the PAICV capitalized on this change, in light of revelations that the previous MDP administration was responsible for significant budgetary and economic slippages during its tenure. These disclosures damaged the technocratic reputation of the MPD and threw its leadership into disarray. In this vacuum, Pires moved to build an alliance with smaller opposition parties including the Partido da Renovação Democrática (PRD) and the Partido Social Democrático (PSD). The coalition put the MPD on the defensive, and gave Pires and the PAICV the upper hand.