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Presidential election goes to run-off

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-02

Elections in Guinea-Bissau to replace former President Joao Bernardo Vieira, who was assassinated in March, are to go to a second round after Sunday's vote failed to produce a winner, according to the country’s electoral commission.

REUTERS - The presidential election in Guinea-Bissau will go to a second round after Sunday's vote failed to produce a winner, the electoral commission said on Thursday.


Malam Bacai Sanha of the PAIGC, the biggest party in parliament, polled 39.6 percent and former president Koumba Yala took 29.4 percent, the commission said.


These two candidates to succeed President Joao Bernardo Vieira, who was assassinated in March, will contest the second round which is likely to be held on July 28, commission president Desejado Lima da Costa said.


The West African country is hoping to end years of political turmoil and violence during which army factions fought and drug traffickers from Latin America established a power base.


Voting was well organised in the main, the head of the European Union's observer mission Johan van Ecke said.


"The vote took place in a calm and orderly fashion, and voters were able to exercise their right freely," he said in a statement.

Turnout was 60 percent, the electoral commission said.


The election in the former Portuguese colony is the latest test for democracy in West Africa.


Coups in Mauritania and Guinea in the past year, and a deepening constitutional crisis in Niger, have stoked fears that democratic principles are at risk of being eroded.

 

Date created : 2009-07-02

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