Bissau-Guineans called to renew their Parliament, one year after its dissolution
Nearly 884,000 voters are being called to the polls in Guinea-Bissau to elect 102 MPs, one year after President Emballo dissolved parliament. Participation and political stability are at stake in the election.
In Bissau, July 28, 2022. AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN
Text by: RFI Follow
With our special envoy in Bissau, Bineta Diagne
In this election, 22 parties, including two coalitions are running and will compete for 102 seats. Madem, the president's party, wants to adopt a revision of the Constitution, to move from a parliamentary to a presidential system. But for that to happen, it will need an absolute majority of at least two-thirds of Parliament. Negotiations for games of alliances should therefore begin as soon as the results are announced.
For its part, the PAIGC, a historic party, which has long dominated political life, is trying to regain ground. Headed by Domingo Simoes Pereira, who is aiming for the post of Prime Minister. The PAIGC will also have to rely on agreements with other parties.
As for the PRS, the formation of former president Kumba Yala, it "could well serve as a pivotal party," notes an observer. As of March 2019, the party was the third largest political force in the Assembly, with 21 seats. Final preparations
Polling stations open at 7am. Voting ends at 17 p.m. local time.
The renewal of Parliament comes in a context of recurrent crises. If the last coup d'état dates back to 2012, it should be noted that the instability at the head of the state remains chronic: institutional crisis in August 2015, crisis again last year during the coup attempt, then dissolution of Parliament a few months later by President Umaro Cissoco Emballo due to "persistent and irreconcilable differences". The challenge of this election is therefore to restore stability within the institutions.
This vote is important because Guinea-Bissau is governed by a semi-parliamentary system: the party or coalition that wins this election has not only weight in the Assembly, but also in the government.
200 citizens watchful of the electoral process
The electoral campaign ended last night in a festive atmosphere.
The National Elections Commission says that everything is ready for tomorrow's election: electoral materials have been sent to some 3000,<> polling stations throughout the country. Faced with the press and political parties, the CNE insisted on the procedure: this body is the only one authorized to count and display the results. It calls on political parties to respect this rule. And calls on voters to vote correctly in order to avoid having a significant number of blank or void votes.
Felisberta Vaz Moura, spokesperson for the National Elections Commission in Guinea-Bissau. © Bineta Diagne/RFI
At the same time, nearly 200 people from civil society monitor the entire electoral process.
These people are there to see if the person is inciting violence, incitement to vote regional or incitement to tribal vote, says Sidi Mohamed Jaquité, vice-president of civil society. To avoid conflict, we do outreach in the neighbourhoods to talk to people to make them understand that, whether I am from one party and you are from another, does not make us enemies. Everyone has the right to vote for the party they want.»
Several international organizations will also observe this election: the CPLP, the African Union, ECOWAS, the United States and La Francophonie.
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