Guinea-Bissau to hold elections this June

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

João Bernardo Vieira, the former president of Guinea-Bissau

The prime minister of the western African country of Guinea-Bissau has announced that the country will further postpone elections until June due to increasing violence. Elections are in order to replace the former president, who was assassinated last month. Francisco Jose Fadul, the nation's former prime minister, says that he has been beaten by men that he claims were in uniform.

"Men in uniform forced their way into my house around 1:00 am (0100 GMT). They hurled abuse at me and beat me repeatedly and dragged me across the floor," said Fadul as quoted by Agence France-Presse. According to the Agence France-Presse, Amnesty International said the beating followed the arrest and torture of Pedro Infanda, a well known attorney. Infanda was detained for four days, during which he was beaten.

On March 2, renegade soldiers assassinated president Joao Bernardo Vieira, in what is considered a revenge attack after an explosion killed the president's rival, the military chief General Batista Tagme Na Wai.

"The date of 28 June is set for holding presidential elections, and all the parties, the government, the interim president and political classes are agreed," said Carlos Gomes Jr. to journalists late Tuesday.

Under the country's constitution, National Assembly speaker Raimundo Pereria became Guinea-Bissau's interim president following Vieira's death. The constitution states that polls should be held within sixty days of the president's death, however, the government has delayed the date for another sixty days following Pereria's inauguration.

Guinea-Bissau is located on the western African coast, north of Guinea and south of Senegal. It has been plagued by frequent civil conflicts and coups. The nation has requested 2.5 billion CFA francs, or US$5.01 million, from the international community to fund for the elections.