In the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, opposition candidate Domingos Simões Pereira said he has full confidence in the electoral process as voters await results from Sunday’s election.
Yet all was not peaceful as the candidate of the African Independence Party of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) faced off against President José Mário Vaz, whose nation has been immersed in political crisis.
Guinea Bissau’s instability began in August 2015, when the Vaz split with former prime minister Pereira led to the dissolution of his government and bitter divisions within the main PAIGC party. Since then, recurring protests and political violence have continued, including recent tensions over the Vaz dismissal and then reinstatement of his current prime minister earlier this month.
The campaign manager for Vaz has accused PAIGC of voter fraud, with Botché Candé telling reporters that Vaz will not accept results compromised by the opposition’s alleged corruption. Those provisional results are expected within 72 hours, according to election officials.
Guinea Bissau remains under close international scrutiny, particularly from the African Union and the 15-nation ECOWAS regional body. The latter is tasked with ensuring Vaz and the nation comply with constitutional requirements and the Conakry Agreement, a roadmap for resolving the political dispute.
Dozens of ECOWAS election observers led by Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, the former prime minister of Mali, were on the ground across Guinea Bissau. He called it a “step in the right direction for a country that desires sociopolitical stability and development. ECOWAS is monitoring closely to ensure that the process can take place in a peaceful atmosphere.”