17 April 2014

Guinea Bissau: Guinea-Bissau Prepares for Presidential Run-Off

Photo: IRIN/John James
First round voting in Guinea Bissau

Dakar — Guinea-Bissau is headed to a presidential run-off election next month that will pit the candidate of the ex-ruling party against an independent seen as having strong support in the military.

Electoral Commission President Augusto Mendes announced the provisional results of Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Jose Mario Vaz got just over 40 percent of votes. He will now advance to a run-off election against the second-place finisher, Nuno Gomes Nabiam, who garnered 25 percent of votes.

Vaz is the candidate of the PAIGC, the country's largest political party. He is a former finance minister who also served as mayor of the capital, Bissau.

Nabiam broke off from the country's second largest party, the PRS, to run as an independent candidate. He is the former head of the civil aviation authority and is seen as the military's candidate. He was also backed by ex-president Kumba Yala who died earlier this month.

Soldiers disrupted the country's last attempt at a presidential run-off in April 2012 when it looked like the PAIGC candidate, ex-prime minister Carlos Gomes Jr., would defeat Yala. Gomes had pledged to reform the military. He remains in exile in Portugal.

Guinea-Bissau voted in the calm Sunday. International observers saluted what they said was high voter turnout. The Electoral Commission hasn't yet released that number.

Provisional results show the PAIGC dominating the parliamentary vote, winning 55 seats out of a total 100. The PRS came in a close second with 41 seats.

Candidates have 48 hours to contest results. Authorities are then expected to publish final results within the week.

The presidential run-off election will be set for 21 days after the publication of first round final results.

Lassana Cassama reported from Bissau.

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