Guinea-Bissau votes in presidential run-off pitting two former premiers

By Alberto Dabo BISSAU (Reuters) - Voters in Guinea-Bissau will choose their next president on Sunday in a run-off election pitting two former prime ministers who both promise to bring stability to the turbulent West African nation. Incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz failed to make it to the second round after a five-year term marred by regular high-level sackings, a barely functioning parliament and weeks of turmoil in the run-up to the first-round ballot. Both candidates in Sunday's showdown have said that if elected they will work to overcome a long-running political impasse and modernise the country of 1.6 million people, which has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974

Reuters December 29, 2019 07:12:11 IST
Guinea-Bissau votes in presidential run-off pitting two former premiers

GuineaBissau votes in presidential runoff pitting two former premiers

By Alberto Dabo

BISSAU (Reuters) - Voters in Guinea-Bissau will choose their next president on Sunday in a run-off election pitting two former prime ministers who both promise to bring stability to the turbulent West African nation.

Incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz failed to make it to the second round after a five-year term marred by regular high-level sackings, a barely functioning parliament and weeks of turmoil in the run-up to the first-round ballot.

Both candidates in Sunday's showdown have said that if elected they will work to overcome a long-running political impasse and modernise the country of 1.6 million people, which has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974.

The ruling PAIGC party's Domingos Simoes Pereira, 56, is seen as the front-runner after winning the first round on Nov. 24 with 40%.

His opponent, Umaro Cissoko Embalo, 47, was in second place with 28% despite being a relative political newcomer, and political analysts say the run-off race could be close.

"Pereira has a slight advantage over his rival," said analyst Fode Mane, who is also rector of Amilcar Cabral University in the capital, Bissau.

Embalo's candidacy has won support from the main contenders who failed to reach the run-off, including Vaz, though Mane said that would not necessarily guarantee him more votes.

After the first round, Embalo questioned the result, saying the final tally between him and Pereira was much closer than official figures had shown.

MAJOR CHALLENGES

The electoral commission is expected to announce the provisional result of Sunday's election on Wednesday, Jan. 1.

Guinea-Bissau's next president will inherit major challenges including widespread poverty and an unstable political system in which the majority party appoints the government but the president has the power to dismiss it.

There have been seven prime ministers since Vaz took over in 2014 and the political instability has hurt the economy, which depends heavily on volatile prices for cashew nuts, the main income source for over two-thirds of households.

Although his tenure was turbulent, Vaz is the first Guinea-Bissau president to have completed a full term.

Ahead of election day, many voters expressed hope that the post-election process would go smoothly so the winner could focus on bringing long-sought change.

"I hope the losing candidate will recognise the verdict of the ballot box," said market trader Alianca Caetano, 45, at her vegetable stall in Bissau.

"(The winner's) priority must be the implementation of development projects," she added.

(Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Helen Popper)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Scotland's seafood exporters dealt new post-Brexit blow
World

Scotland's seafood exporters dealt new post-Brexit blow

By Kate Holton LONDON (Reuters) - The post-Brexit woes facing Scotland's fishing industry deepened on Saturday as its biggest logistics provider, DFDS Scotland, said it would halt exports to the European Union through one of its main services until at least Wednesday. Previously the company had said it would take until Monday to resume its "groupage" export service - which allows exporters to ship multiple products in a single consignment - while it tries to fix IT issues, paperwork errors and a backlog of goods. DFDS's move represents another blow for Scottish fishermen who this week warned that their businesses could become unviable after Britain shifted to a less integrated trade deal with the EU at the turn of the year

Pope Francis to have COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week
World

Pope Francis to have COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Saturday he planned to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as early as next week and urged everyone to get a shot, to protect not only their own lives but those of others.

U.S. Senator urges mobile, social media providers to keep Capitol rioters' data as man seen seizing Speaker's lectern arrested
World

U.S. Senator urges mobile, social media providers to keep Capitol rioters' data as man seen seizing Speaker's lectern arrested

By Rich McKay (Reuters) - A man photographed carrying off the Speaker's lectern during the Capitol Hill riots was arrested late Friday, while a top Democratic lawmaker on Saturday called on mobile carriers to preserve social media content related to the riots. Dozens of people have been charged following the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday, with the FBI asking the public for help identifying participants, given the proliferation of images of the riots on the internet.