News / Africa

Observers Give Guinea-Bissau Vote Clean Bill of Health

People line up at a polling station to cast their votes in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, April 13, 2014.
People line up at a polling station to cast their votes in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, April 13, 2014.
Reuters
Observers from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS on Monday said Guinea-Bissau's weekend election was free and fair, and called on international donors to restart cooperation suspended  in the wake of a 2012 coup.
 
Bissau-Guineans flocked to the polls in large numbers on Sunday to vote in long-delayed legislative and presidential polls meant to bring stability to the former Portuguese colony after years of putsches and political infighting.
 
No elected president has completed a five-year term in Guinea-Bissau, which has become a major transit point for smugglers ferrying Latin American cocaine to Europe.
 
“The election was conducted according to international standards and the election was peaceful, free, fair and transparent,” the ECOWAS observer mission said in a statement.
 
The mission noted a few isolated problems in certain areas, including a shortage of ballot papers and an attack by the national guard on some supporters of one candidate, but said these did not impair the overall conduct of the election.
 
The last election in 2012 was aborted when troops under army chief Antonio Indjai stormed the presidential palace days before a presidential second-round vote was due to take place, plunging the country into chaos.
 
Many in Bissau hope a successful transition to democracy can unlock donor funding for one of the world's poorest countries, including 110 million euros in European Union aid frozen after a 2011 military uprising.
 
Front runner Vaz
 
“[ECOWAS] urges all development partners to expedite the lifting of sanctions imposed on the country and to extend financial support towards meeting the urgent post-electoral task of reconciliation, reconstruction and reform,” said the mission led by the former interim president of Liberia Amos Sawyer.
 
An EU election observation mission also said the election was well-organized and conducted in a calm atmosphere.
 
Results are due by Friday. If no candidate wins an outright majority in the presidential ballot, a second round will be held between the top two.
 
The front runner of 13 presidential candidates is Jose Mario Vaz, a former finance minister running for the dominant African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).
 
Vaz's candidacy is tainted by accusations from Bissau's attorney general of involvement in the embezzlement of a $12.5 million grant from Angola, something Vaz denies. His main challenger is former World Bank executive Paulo Gomes.
 
Guinea-Bissau, home to 1.6 million people, has dozens of remote islands and a jagged coastline of mangrove creeks that have made it a paradise for drug smugglers.
 
Indjai was indicted last year by a federal grand jury in New York on cocaine and weapons-trafficking charges but he escaped a sting operation to catch him that netted a former navy chief. Both men deny involvement in drug trafficking.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Abel Ogah from: OJU Nigeria
April 15, 2014 5:24 AM
Is Nigeria listening?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More