Guinea-Bissau votes for new president, parliament
Guinea-Bissau is voting in presidential and parliamentary elections, amid hope that stability can be restored.
Already poor, the west African country is plagued by corruption, fuelled by cocaine trafficking.
It is the first election since a coup in 2012, after which the EU and others suspended aid donations.
With a history of coups, no elected leader has served a full term since independence from Portugal in 1974.
There are 13 candidates for president and 15 parties fielding candidates for parliament.
Among the presidential hopefuls are political heavyweights such as former Finance Minister Jose Mario Vaz, and Abel Incada, a member of the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) of former President Kumba Yala, who died last week.
The dark horse, however, could be 50-year-old independent candidate Paulo Gomes, an unusual proposition in a political landscape hitherto dominated by political grandees who made their names during the war of independence.
A gifted economist who has spent most of his life working abroad, including as the leader of the World Bank’s sub-Saharan Africa division, he believes he has the know-how to begin to turn around the country’s fortunes.
The west African nation has stagnated since 2012, under the rule of a transitional government backed by its all-powerful military.
With few resources other than cashew nuts and fish, South American drug cartels have turned the country into a cocaine trafficking hub.
The money that generates has corrupted many of the country’s public institutions, particularly its armed forces. BBC