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Guinea-Bissau presidential vote to head to runoff

April 16, 2014

BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau (AP) — A former finance minister from Guinea-Bissau’s dominant party and a bureaucrat with the backing of the military will face each other in a presidential election runoff, the election commission announced Wednesday.

The international community is closely watching these elections because the country has become a transit hub for the cocaine trade. The head of the military is under federal indictment in the United States for, among other things, conspiring to import cocaine to the U.S.

The provisional results announced Wednesday will pit Jose Mario Vaz, a former finance minister from the dominant PAIGC party, against Nuno Gomes Na Biam, who ran the civil transport agency. Vaz received just over 40 percent of the vote, while Na Biam garnered about 25 percent.

The runoff is expected to be held May 18.

Results from the legislative elections showed the PAIGC party had grabbed a majority of the seats.

Sunday’s elections unfolded fairly smoothly, according to international observers. But the country is notoriously unstable, and its last elections, in 2012, were short-circuited by a coup in between two rounds of voting. A caretaker government took power soon after and has been running the country since.

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