Guinea-Bissau poll heads to run-off

2012-03-21 20:00
Bissau - Guinea-Bissau's former prime minister Carlos Gomes narrowly missed a first round election win and will face ex-president Kumba Yala in a run-off vote on April 22, the polling chief said on Wednesday.

Gomes, 62, who stepped down as prime minister to contest the election, came first with 48.97% of the vote, according to results announced by elections chief Desejado Lima de Costa.

He needed an absolute majority of votes to prevent a second voting round.

Gomes is followed by Yala with 23.36% of ballots cast, while national assembly speaker Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo scored 15.75% and another former leader Henrique Rosa 5.4%.

Yala retains strong support among his Balanta ethnic group despite being ousted in 2003 following three years at the head of a regime plagued by instability.

The former president on Tuesday led a call by five opposition candidates to have the poll annulled, saying it was riddled with fraud.

This has stoked fears of further trouble in the coup-prone state after the assassination of former military intelligence chief Samba Diallo by men in military dress on Sunday.

Since winning independence through armed combat in 1974, Guinea-Bissau's army and state have remained in constant, often deadly, conflict, with the result that no president has ever completed a full term in office.

Three have been overthrown in coups and one was assassinated in office in 2009.

Sunday's election was held after the last president, Malam Bacai Sanha, died in January following a long illness.

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Read more on:    kumba yala  |  guinea-bissau  |  west africa  |  guinea-bissau elections
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