The President of Guinea-Bissau José Mario Vaz suffered on Wednesday new denials from the international community for having dismissed the government supposed to prepare the presidential election of November 24.
The UN and the African Union have affirmed their commitment to the process set in June by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to put an end to months of crisis in this country of less than two million inhabitants.
ECOWAS charged the government, then in the process of formation, to prepare the presidential and to direct the affairs of the country until then. It is this government headed by Aristides Gomes that the president dismissed with immediate effect Monday night.
The president appointed Faustino Imbali as the new head of government, but Gomes refused to submit, with Guinea-Bissau in fact with two prime ministers.
Mr. Vaz’s term of office expired in June, but ECOWAS has agreed to remain in office until the presidential election. He is a candidate for his own succession.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is following the situation « with concern, » his services said. « He calls all stakeholders to comply with the decisions of the ECOWAS » on the governance of the country until the presidential election.
A closed meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, initially scheduled for Wednesday evening at the request of African countries in the proceeding, was postponed until Thursday due to cash flow problems currently affecting the Organization, according to diplomats.
The decree is « illegal »
In recent weeks, the meetings must end at 18:00 local, so as not to mobilize beyond interpreters and save electricity. Wednesday afternoon, discussions dragged on Burundi, causing the postponement of the meeting on Guinea-Bissau.
According to diplomats, the Council could adopt a declaration on this country calling for calm and respect of the date of 24 November for the holding of the presidential election.
The African Union, for its part, in a statement, lent its « total support » to the position expressed on Tuesday by ECOWAS. The latter had declared « illegal » the decree putting an end to the Gomes government, expressed « all its support » to the latter, and brandished the threat of sanctions against anyone who would hinder the process leading to the November 24th poll.
The holding of the election remains uncertain. The campaign should officially open Saturday. President Vaz assured Tuesday that the presidential election would take place on November 24.
Since gaining independence in 1974, the former Portuguese colony has gone from coup d’etat to coup d’etat and from one government to another. The presidential election is supposed to maintain the course of constitutional legality found with the election of Mr. Vaz in 2014. Beyond the democratic challenge, the international community is worried about the risk of instability.