Guinea-Bissau was Monday in expectation of the results of the presidential election, and especially if this vote will bring stability in this country of West Africa undermined by corruption, drug trafficking and crises repeated policies.
Despite clashes reported in several localities of the country between supporters of the different camps, the counting began as soon as the offices closed, Sunday at 17:00 (GMT and local).
The first trends are expected in the coming days, or even in the next hours, while a possible second round, deemed likely by analysts because of the large number of candidates -12, all men- will be held on December 29 the case applicable.
« The participation was important, » said Sunday night the National Electoral Commission (CNE), more details.
The aftermath of elections is traditionally a cause for concern in the former tropical-climate Portuguese colony, which has seen four coups and multiple coup attempts since independence in 1974.
The Portuguese government « welcomes and congratulates the Guinean people » for the « peaceful » conduct of the polls, says a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sunday evening.
The former colonial power « calls on all stakeholders to ensure full respect for the popular will. »
The first question that arises is whether the various actors will actually accept the verdict of the ballot box, starting with the army, which promised not to meddle in politics, seven years after its last coup, which had interrupted the electoral process in 2012.
‘Jams of urns’
But the outgoing president, José Mario Vaz, elected in 2014 and who is seeking a second term, will seek to hang on to power, having challenged the international community in recent weeks by trying to dismiss the Prime Miner Aristides Gomes, supported by West African countries?
Mr. Vaz promised by tabling his ballot Sunday morning to « respect the will of the people ». But even before the closure of the offices, his side denounced a « stuffing of ballot boxes » in several cities in the interior of the country.
His campaign manager, Botche Candé, said the outgoing head of state would not recognize a « tainted » result of irregularities, directly calling into question the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde ( PAIGC), the formation that dominates the Parliament and the government and to which Mr. Vaz belonged before being excluded.
The head of the PAIGC, former Prime Minister ousted by President Vaz in 2015, Domingos Simoes Pereira, said he would respect the result. But he did not hide the importance of the issue: « Write a new story. Today is a day that will count for many years, « he said on Twitter Sunday.
Control the presidency and the government
If Mr. Pereira wins, his training would control both the presidency and the government, a situation that should facilitate the return of some stability in a country that has lived in the past four years at the pace of quarrels between President Vaz and the PAIGC, itself weakened by dissidence.
Under the presidency of Mr. Vaz, the heads of government followed one another, raising the concern of the West African countries, which multiplied the efforts of mediation.
At the same time, schools have been closed for months because of repeated teacher strikes demanding large wage arrears.
And nearly 70 percent of the estimated 1.8 million Bissau-Guineans still live on less than $ 2 a day, despite Vaz’s promises to tackle the scourge of poverty, which has led to the smuggling of traffickers. of drugs from South America.
Other candidates hope to succeed, starting with Umaro Sissoco Embalo, head of a PAIGC dissent, or Nuno Nabiam, beaten in the second round in 2014. Driven by the military between the two towers then he was the favorite of the 2012 election, former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior also tried his luck again.