Long-awaited legislative elections underway in Guinea-Bissau

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A much-anticipated election to fill Guinea-Bissau’s national legislature was underway on Sunday, more than a year after the West African nation’s president dissolved parliament.

Nearly one million voters have registered to elect more than 100 lawmakers from six parties with active seats in the National People’s Assembly, according to the Center for Democracy and Development, an African human rights organization. ‘male.

Tiny Guinea-Bissau gained independence from Portugal almost five decades ago. The country has endured continuous political turmoil, including multiple coups, since then.

President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, a former army general, took office after being declared the winner of the second round of the December 2019 elections. He survived a coup attempt in February 2022 when attackers armed with machine guns and AK-47s attacked the government palace.

Since taking office, Embalo has clamped down on civil liberties, while government bodies have lost significant independence, analysts say. He dissolved parliament in May 2022 and postponed the legislative elections scheduled for the following December.

Lucia Bird Ruiz Benitez de Lugo, director of the West Africa Observatory at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, said Embalo had cemented his grip on power since his controversial inauguration in February 2020. .

“These elections are key to determining the support the ruling party retains in parliament,” she said. “They will determine whether or not the president, who has a strained relationship with the mighty military, will be isolated during the remaining 18 months of his term.”

The results of Sunday’s election were expected to be disputed after the results were announced in the coming days.


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