News / Africa

    Tight Timeline as Guinea-Bissau Prepares April 13 Polls

    Anne Look
    Campaigning is now underway in Guinea-Bissau ahead of April 13 presidential and parliamentary elections.  The country is trying to move on from two years of political crisis following an April 2012 military coup, but the organization of the poll remains a concern.  

    It has been almost two years since Guinea-Bissau tried to hold an election.  In April 2012, a military coup disrupted that presidential race as it headed to a second round run-off.

    This vote has since been pushed back three times.  The international community ramped up pressure in February to head off another possible postponement.  But there are still concerns of logistical problems ahead.

    In the run-up to the poll, the electoral commission did a massive biometric voter registration campaign that authorities say covered 95 percent of voters.

    Electoral commission spokesperson Catia Lopes told VOA technical preparations are on track but there are concerns for voting day.

    Lopes said this time, there hasn't been much of an education campaign in the media about new voting procedures.  She said that could be problem since it is the first time Bissau-Guineans will vote with biometric voter cards.

    International funds for organizing the poll were slow to come in over the past two years and the electoral timeline is tight.

    On March 15, the country's High Court of Justice confirmed 13 presidential candidates for the election. That gave the country less than a month to have ballots printed.

    A total of 15 parties are running for parliamentary seats.

    Guinea-Bissau one of Africa's smallest, yet most unstable, countries. The political crisis dates back much further than 2012.  There have been repeated coups, mutinies and political assassinations since independence 40 years ago.  No elected president has ever finished his mandate.

    Analysts warn that the military remains a destabilizing force.

    There is no clear presidential frontrunner and political analysts say they expect this to go to a second round.

    The two political heavyweights who were headed to the derailed 2012 run-off are not on the ballot this time. Both are controversial figures.

    Former president Kumba Yala resigned from his party earlier this year.  Former prime minister Carlos Gomes Jr. is not running either, after his party, the PAIGC, did not choose him as its presidential candidate.

    The PAIGC, the largest party in the country, instead put Jose Mario Vaz on the ticket.  Vaz is a former finance minister who also served as mayor of the capital, Bissau.

    Lassana Cassama contributed to this report from Bissau.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora