Guinea Bissau Holds a Key Election Tomorrow After Years Of Political Chaos

Bissau, Nov. 23 (EFE). – Twelve candidates, all men, face this Sunday in the presidential elections of Guinea Bissau, a small West African nation plunged for five years in a strong political crisis with a very unstable Parliament.

More than 5,680 polling stations will open their doors tomorrow until 5:00 p.m. (like GMT), in a process that will be monitored by observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – a powerful regional body – in addition to thousands of soldiers .

Among the candidates in Liza stand out the current president, José Mario Vaz, and who was his prime minister until he dismissed him in 2015, Domingos Simoes Pereira, who starts as a favorite according to several political analysts.


More than 671,000 voters may exercise their right to vote in a country of 1.8 million inhabitants, following an electoral campaign marked by violent anti-government protests despite promises of economic improvement, greater infrastructure and political stability.

Whoever is the next president must alleviate the political instability that the country is going through, partly caused by a system that allows the party or the majority coalition to designate the Government, but the president to dismiss it given certain circumstances.

Since assuming the presidency in 2014, Vaz has been embroiled in a bitter power struggle with the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which has caused a carousel of seven prime ministers in the last five years.

Vaz, the first democratically elected president who manages to complete a mandate in the country's history, concurs on this occasion as an independent after having been expelled from PAIGC, in part, for his disagreements with Pereira.

The PAIGC candidate will be his rival Pereira, while also as an independent, former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who resigned his post in February 2012 to attend the Presidency and who, despite winning the first round, had to go into exile in Portugal after a military coup.

Since its independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea Bissau has suffered at least nine coup attempts, four of them successfully.

In the last episode of the prolonged political crisis that the country is going through, Vaz dismissed Aristides Gomes as prime minister at the end of October and replaced him with Faustino Fudut Imbali.

But Gomes refused to leave office – so Guinea Bissau had two prime ministers for ten days – until ECOWAS intervened and threatened Vaz with sanctions if he did not back down.

The twelve candidates have also promised to fight rampant corruption and drug trafficking; in a consolidated nation as one of the main transit points of cocaine that arrives from Latin America to Europe.

Last September, the Guinean Police anti-drug unit seized more than 1.8 tons of cocaine hidden in bags of flour, the biggest stash in the country's history, and in March the authorities had seized another 800 kilos.

In the event that none of the candidates for the Presidency obtain an absolute majority tomorrow, a second round of these elections is scheduled between the two most voted candidates on December 29. EFE