West African leaders decided to send troops to coup-hit Mali and Guinea-Bissau to support their return to civilian rule and demanded coup leaders “return to barracks” in both countries. At an extraordinary summit in Ivory Coast, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also said the two countries must prepare for legislative and presidential elections within a year. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, current head of ECOWAS, pledged a firm response to the instability “to prevent our sub-region from giving into terrorism and transnational criminality”. ”The safety of Europe and of the United States now starts in the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea,” Ouattara said.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.
Guinea-Bissau’s junta has named a failed presidential candidate to govern the country for two years. The United Nations has condemned the move in West Africa’s narcotics hub. The naming of Manuel Serifo Nhamajo, the former speaker of parliament, to head an interim government was made jointly late Thursday by the military – whose coup last week preempted a presidential election runoff – and Guinea-Bissau’s main opposition, the Party for Social Renewal. Nhamajo’s nomination was immediately rejected by the ousted governing party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Its secretary general, Luis Olivares, described the appointment as “unconstitutional.”
Guinea-Bissau’s military junta said on Wednesday it would take two years to restore democratic rule in the West African state through elections that will be set by a soon-to-be-named caretaker government. The announcement came after broad international condemnation of the shadowy “Military Command” which seized power last week and cut short a presidential poll by detaining its front-runner, former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior. The former Portuguese colony has seen several coups and army revolts since independence in 1974. The latest coup was a blow to efforts by Western donors to reduce military meddling in the country’s politics and counter the influence of drug-trafficking cartels using Guinea-Bissau as a transshipment point.
Five candidates in Guinea Bissau’s aborted presidential election united to condemn last week’s coup, as West African delegates arrived for overnight talks with military and political figures. The April 12 military coup tipped the restive impoverished west African country into fresh chaos and interrupted a second-round presidential vote on April 29. UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Monday that a move by the coup leaders to declare a transitional government would only worsen the crisis in the African nation. Ban will “intensify cooperation” with international governments and bodies to deal with the situation following last Thursday’s coup, said deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey. For its part the junta insisted that it was in control of the situation in the west African nation and urged the population not to panic.
A grimly familiar sequence of gunfire in the capital, military communiqués on the radio and the arrest of government officials is repeating itself in the small coastal state of Guinea-Bissau — apparently the latest West African nation to succumb to a coup d’état. A second round of voting in presidential elections was scheduled to take place later this month, but on Friday, the heavy favorite, Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr., was in army custody along with other senior officials. The military, which has dominated politics in the country ever since it fought its way to independence from Portugal in 1974, announced it did not intend to stay in power and called a meeting of political parties late Friday. But military officials did not say what their plans were for the nation of 1.6 million people, which is heavily dependent on aid and considered a major transit hub for Latin American drugs. Once again, in a country long accustomed to coups, the trigger was apparently the army’s perception that its prerogatives were threatened, diplomats said.
In Guinea-Bissau, soldiers reportedly sealed off the parts of the capital on Thursday and ringed the home of the prime minister, lobbing grenades. The unrest comes weeks before an election once seen as a chance for one of the most troubled states in West Africa to overcome its tumultuous past. “I am prevented from leaving,” an unnamed diplomat told the Associated Press on Thursday from his office in Bissau. “The downtown area has been sealed off by the military … I can also tell you that all Guinea-Bissau radio has been taken off the air since 8 p.m. local time and the whereabouts of the prime minister and interim president are unknown.” The impoverished country has a history pocked with military coups and revolts since it won its independence from Portugal. Its first president was overthrown by his army chief, who in turn was ousted after he dismissed his own army chief, starting a civil war. Two more coups followed. Guinea-Bissau has been readying for a runoff election between the prime minister and a former president later this month, trying to replace its late leader Malam Bacai Sanha.
Guinea-Bissau’s electoral commission announced Friday the start of election campaigning for April 22 run-off polls had been postponed to examine an appeal by the opposition. ”The postponement is linked to the examination of appeals” filed by five opposition candidates who want the March 18 first round of voting annuled, the elections commission said in a statement. An official from the Supreme Court said that until it makes its ruling, “the whole electoral process remains suspended.”
Guinea-Bissau: Security Council Urges Political Parties to Engage in Dialogue Ahead of Run-Off Election | allAfrica.com
The Security Council today urged political parties in Guinea-Bissau to engage in dialogue ahead of the upcoming run-off elections next month to ensure a peaceful conclusion to the electoral process that started in January, and to be able to maintain unity and stability in the country. ”The members of the Security Council called upon all political leaders and their supporters to exercise restraint and to refrain from any action that could hamper the electoral process,” said Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency this month, in a press statement. The West African nation is undergoing a political transition as a result of the death of President Malam Bacai Sanhá in January, which prompted early elections – the first round of which were held on 18 March. A run-off is now scheduled for 22 April between former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and ex-president Kumba Yala.
Guinea Bissau’s election commission on Wednesday rejected opposition complaints of fraud during a March 18 first-round presidential vote in the West African state, and set a decisive run-off for April 22. The election to replace Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in a Paris hospital in January after a long illness, was meant to usher in stability to the coup-prone country, which has become a transhipment point for Latin American cocaine bound for Europe. Former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who fell just short of an outright majority in the first round, is meant to face rival Kumba Yala in the run-off, but Yala has said he will boycott the vote in protest over alleged first-round rigging. Yala and four other opposition leaders filed a formal complaint with the national election commission last week, saying that Gomes Junior orchestrated “massive fraud” that included widespread double-voting.
An election official in Guinea-Bissau says a presidential runoff will be held next month. Electoral commission president Desejado Lima da Costa said Wednesday the vote will be held April 22. Former prime minister Carlos Gomes Jr. took nearly 49 percent of the first vote. Challenger Kumba Yala came second with about 23 percent. Yala has previously said he won’t participate in the runoff because he believes the poll earlier this month was fraudulent. It’s not known if he will participate in the April runoff.