Voters in Guinea-Bissau are voting Sunday in a presidential runoff election they hope will resolve months of political turmoil and bring much-needed stability to the country.
The vote offers a choice between two former prime ministers: Domingos Simoes Pereira, from the traditional ruling PAIGC party, and opposition figure Umaro Sissoco Embalo.
Both are promising a better economic future in a small, tropical country that has been plagued by poverty, high unemployment and corruption since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974.
Incumbent Jose Mario Vaz failed to make it past the first round in November. In a country prone to coups, he's the first elected president in 25 years to reach the end of his mandate without being ousted or dying in office.
GUINEA-BISSAU 🇬🇼Presidential Election🗳Run-off 2019
Voting has began in #GuineaBissau as Citizens decide who between two former Prime Ministers one 56-yrs old Domingos Pereira and 47-yrs old Umaro Sissoco will succeed President Jose Mario Vaz
Full Story👉https://t.co/sb9Jsvbekn pic.twitter.com/8d1VnGptbj
Honourable Media Africa™ (@HonourableMedia) December 29, 2019
Vaz's five-year term was marred by political turmoil, including regular high-level sackings.
Some 700,000 registered voters in one of the world's poorest countries began cast their ballots early Sunday, with many polling stations set up in the open air.
Simoes Pereira, 56, is seen as the front-runner after winning 40 percent in the first round, though analysts say the run-off race will likely be close.