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Presidential election campaigns start in Guinea-Bissau amid political instability

 Guinea-Bissau ,  Presidential election

The 21-day campaigns for presidential election scheduled for Nov. 24 in Guinea-Bissau started Saturday as the country is going through yet another wave of political instability with two prime ministers and two governments.

The first government, formed by Aristides Gomes after the last legislative elections of March 10, is widely recognized by the international community. Its prime minister Gomes has refused to quit despite having being sacked by the incumbent president Jose Mario Vaz whom Gomes considers “illegal”.

After meeting with the Council of State, the advisory body of Guinea-Bissau’s president, Vaz dissolved on Oct. 28, in a presidential decree, the government led by Aristides Gomes.

On Oct. 29, Faustino Imbali, was appointed and sworn in as the new prime minister. However, Imbali’s government is not recognized by the international community.

The term of Vaz should have ended at the end of June. But during a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS agreed that Vaz would stay as president of Guinea-Bissau until the presidential election, but the management of the country would be entrusted to its prime minister Aristides Gomes.

A political confusion reigns in Guinea-Bissau where the upcoming presidential election is seen as the last step to end the existing political crisis that burst in 2015 between President Vaz and African Party for Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Vaz had won the 2014 presidential election as the candidate of PAIGC.

According to the list published by the Supreme Court of Justice of Guinea-Bissau, a total of 12 candidates will compete for the presidency, including the incumbent president Vaz as independent candidate, and Domingos Simoes Pereira, candidate of PAIGC.

This year’s presidential elections will be held on Nov. 24, with a second around scheduled for Dec. 29 if no one receives more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round.