Guinea-Bissau Presidential Elections Head to Second Round

DAKAR – Guinea-Bissau voters go to the polls for a second round of voting in December to decide on their next president. Results of the first round show that no candidate garnered the 50 percent needed to win outright.

Former Prime Ministers Domingos Simoes Pereira and Umaro Sissoco Embalo will face each other in a December 29 runoff election to decide who will be the next president of Guinea-Bissau.

First-round results announced Wednesday show Pereira winning 40 percent of the vote and Embalo trailing with 27 percent.

Cipriano Cassama, the current parliament speaker and a member of Pereira’s majority party, the PAIGC, said while the party is disappointed with not wining the first round outright, it is hopeful of taking home more votes in the second round.

Cassama says, “We are going to a second tour with a lot of pride but it’s not the result that we were hoping for, but that is how democracy is. I hope that under the orientation of our party, PAIGC, we can start to work with the direction of the campaign and the structure of the campaign to find a real strategy to give the victory to our candidate.”

Pereira, who heads the PAIGC, has appealed to voters with his roadmap for development known as “Terra Ranka,” which roughly translates to “Restart the Country” in Guinea-Bissau’s Portuguese-based Creole.

Embalo, a former military officer, is the candidate for newly-formed party MADEM G-15. The party was founded after members broke away from the PAIGC after a political crisis ensued in 2015, when current President Jose Mario Vaz fired Pereira from the prime minister’s position.

Cassama said Guinea Bissau needs to move forward from the most recent political stagnation.

He says, “Guinea-Bissau is a young country, a country that has a lot of resources and we need to turn the page so that we can initiate socioeconomic development for the country.”

Young voters have said their main goal is that Guinea-Bissau move forward.

Meanwhile, another round of campaigning will kick off December 13.

Source: Voice of America

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