Fourth time lucky; Guinea-Bissau finally goes to the polls
The 775,500 voters of Guinea-Bissau will go to the polls today to elect a new president and parliament. The elections were due to be held in 2012 but a military coup cancelled the election. There were then attempts to hold the poll on 24th November 2013 and then postponed again to 16th March 2014 before they were finally agreed for today.
The two candidates who contested the aborted presidential election in 2012 are not standing today.
Former president Kumba Ialá resigned from his party, the Party for Social Renewal (PRS), earlier this year and died suddenly on 4th April of a cardiopulmonary arrest.
Former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr. was not selected by the ruling party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), who selected José Mario Vaz a former finance minister, instead.
The incumbent transitional President, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, who has led the country since 2012 is also not standing.
In the parliamentary election there are 15 political parties standing. The 102 member National People’s Assembly is elected through 27 multi-member constituencies and members will serve for four years. If there is no clear winner with more than 50% of the vote in the presidential election then there will be a second round held with the top two candidates contesting.
Whoever wins will have an especially tough time with a failing economy, little outside support and a threatening military. The country has seen three coups and the assassination of President Joao Bernardo Vieira in 2009 since independence from Portugal in 1974. No president has completed his mandate since 1994.
The list of presidential candidates for today is as follows:
José Mário Vaz; African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, PAIGC
Abel Incada; Party of Social Renewal, PRS
Afonso Té; Republican Party for Independence and Development PRID
Iaia Djaló; Party of the New Democracy, PND
Cirilo de Oliveira Rodrigues; Socialist Party, PS
Ibraima Sori Djaló; Party of National Reconciliation, PRN
Arégado Mantenque Té; Labour Party, PT
Helder Vaz Lopes
Nuno Gomes Na Bian