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Guinea-Bissau elections postponed until next year

AFP  |  Bissau (Guinea-Bissau) 

Guinea-Bissau said today it was postponing national elections which had been due to take place in nine days until March next year.

"The presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on March 16, 2014," the transitional regime said in a presidential decree, announcing that it would "immediately cancel the elections previously set for November 24, 2013".

The decree said the postponement was agreed by the transitional government, political parties and the electoral commission, but did not specify a reason for the decision.

The polls were originally pencilled in for May but in January transitional president Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo said such a short time frame was "technically" impossible.

The election commission has estimated that a nationwide poll would require USD 40 million (30 million euros) on top of a revision of the electoral code and a biometric census.

Guinea-Bissau, which gained independence from Portugal in 1974 after a war with its colonial power lasting more than ten years, has suffered intermittent unrest since its liberation.

The chronic volatility has fanned poverty in the country of 1.6 million people with few resources other than cashew nuts and fish, attracting South American drug cartels which have turned it into a hub of cocaine trafficking for west Africa.

There has been a series of military coups attributed largely to unprecedented troop numbers and funding after the war.

The latest overthrew the regime of former premier Carlos Gomes Junior on April 12 last year.

Coup leader Antonio Indjai, a former army chief of staff, agreed in May last year to hand power to a civilian transitional regime headed by Nhamadjo.

First Published: Fri, November 15 2013. 22:35 IST
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