Guinea-Bissau is expected to hold a runoff election on Sunday, December 29, after the first round of voting on Sunday, November 24, did not yield a definitive winner. Voters will decide between Domingos Simoes Pereira and Umaro Cissoko Embalo, both former prime ministers. Pereira won 40 percent of the votes while Embalo secured 28 percent; 50 percent of the votes is required to win the presidency outright. Incumbent Jose Mario Vaz finished in fourth.
A heightened security presence, as well as associated political protests and transportation disruptions, are likely leading up to, during, and following the elections.
Guinea-Bissau has experienced a period of political uncertainty since August 2015, when President José Mario Vaz dismissed Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, leader of the president's own party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Following the March 10 election, President Vaz rejected the PAIGC's proposal to name Pereira prime minister resulting in a leadership deadlock in parliament. After months of deadlock and opposition protests from Pereira's supporters, President Vaz appointed Aristide Gomes as prime minister on June 22. Despite this, the government remains unstable and President Vaz has continued to suffer increasing unpopularity.
Guinea-Bissau has struggled with government stability, facing multiple attempted coups, since gaining independence from Portugal in 1973.
Individuals in Guinea-Bissau are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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