Guinea-Bissau election: Former PMs advance to runoff vote

President Vaz out of second round of voting which will be contested by Domingos Simoes Pereira and Umaro Cissoko Embalo.

Guinea-Bissau''s President Jose Mario Vaz attends the opening of the 54th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, in Abuja
Incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz gathered 12 percent of the vote [File: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]

Two former prime ministers will compete in a runoff to become Guinea-Bissau‘s next president, the electoral commission has announced, with incumbent Jose Mario Vaz failing to advance to the second round of voting after a term marred by political infighting and corruption.

Domingos Simoes Pereira topped Sunday’s presidential election with 40 percent votes and Umaro Cissoko Embalo came second with 28 percent, the commission announced on Wednesday.

They will face off in the second round on December 29.

Vaz, in power since 2014, received only 12 percent of the vote.

He ran as an independent after regularly clashing with the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which held the majority in Parliament.

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from the capital, Bissau, said the results did not come as a surprise.

“The PAIGC’s candidate, Domingos Simoes Pereira, is in the lead but hasn’t won enough votes to avoid a second round. His camp is disappointed but they accept the result of the vote,” Haque said.

Pereira, 56, was Vaz’s first prime minister before being sacked in 2015, in a move that led to years of tension between the head of state and Parliament and the appointment of several prime ministers.

Embalo, 47, also served as prime minister under Vaz from 2016 to 2018

More than 760,000 voters had registered to take part in the poll, which was contested by 12 candidates, all men.

Guinea-Bissau has a long history of military coups and political assassinations since winning independence from Portugal in 1974.

Vaz is the first president in 25 years to finish his term without being overthrown or killed.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies