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One Year After President Dissolved Legislature, Guinea-Bissau Holds Legislative Elections

According to the African human rights group Centre for Democracy and Development, approximately 1 million voters were registered to cast votes.

Over a year after the president of Bissau-Guineans parliament was dissolved, the West African nation cast ballots in the eagerly awaited election to replace the national assembly on Sunday.

According to the African human rights group Centre for Democracy and Development, about 1 million voters were registered to elect more than 100 parliamentarians from six parties with active seats in the National People’s Assembly. 

More than 3,500 polling locations around the nation and abroad were anticipated when the polls opened early on Sunday. Since the country’s multi-party system was established over three decades ago, this is its sixth legislative election.

It was said that nearly 30 voters were up early to line in the shade of trees in the Bairro Militar neighbourhood of Bissau’s capital city before the polls opened at 7:00 am.

After being crowned the victor of a runoff election in December 2019, retired army commander Umaro Sissoco Embalo assumed government. When attackers wielding AK-47s and machine guns assaulted the government palace in February 2022, he managed to escape.

Months after foiling a coup attempt, Embalo dissolved the national legislature in May of last year due to disagreements with MPs.

Since his contentious inauguration in February 2020, Lucia Bird Ruiz Benitez de Lugo, head of the West Africa Observatory at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, said that Embalo has tightened his hold on power. 

The president said that he and parliament had “persistent differences that could not be resolved” and that there was now “guerrilla politics and conspiracy” endemic in the legislature.

He charged that parliamentarians had shielded MPs who were being investigated for corruption and had resisted audits.

With around 884,000 individuals registered to vote, 22 parties are fighting for 102 seats. Results are expected to be accessible within 48 hours.

The majority of seats in the national legislature are split among three major parties, including Embalo’s Madem G15 party. The long-reigning African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) are the other two parties.

Glamour Adah