600,000 Bissau Guinean voters to elect president

Bissau- Guinea Bissau (PANA) -- At least 600,000 Bissau Guinean citizens were vot ing Sunday to elect a new leader, after the assassination of President Joao Bern a rdo Nino Vieira earlier this year.
The elections were being held against the backdrop of growing tension characteri zed by insecurity and impunity, following the killing of several political leaders in the West African nation.
Eleven candidates are contesting for the presidency.
Former chair of the nationa l assembly (parliament) Raimundo Pereira took over as acting president after president Vieira was killed about four months ago .
A huge security operation that includes the military and the police is in place to ensure a free and fair elections.
People started voting as early as 7am local time and the voting, at 2,500 pollin g stations scattered in the country's eight regions and the autonomous sector of Bissau, is expected to close at 5pm.
Campaign by the 11 candidates wrapped up on Friday, ahead of the voting to elect the man to govern the country for the next five years.
The candidates had asked for the postponement of the polls, after one of them, B aciro Dabo, a former minister of regional administration, was killed 5 June.
Dabo was slain in his home located in Ajuda, Bissau, on the eve of the start of electioneering campaign.
The death of the former minister caused the withdrawal of another candidate, Ped ro Nfanda, who said was no longer interested in running for the country's highest office.

28 june 2009 14:30:00




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