Guinea-Bissau President José Mario Vaz, announced on Thursday he would be seeking re-election in November.
“I will be a candidate in the November 24 elections,” Vaz said in front of thousands of supporters in Bissau, capital of the tiny West African country.
Excluded from the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which has a majority in the National Assembly, Vaz is contesting the election as an independent, after having failed to obtain the nomination of the opposition party, Madem.
Despite the successful legislative elections in March, Guinea-Bissau’s political crisis has not eased. The impasse began in 2015 when President Vaz dismissed Domingos Simoes Pereira, head of the PAIGC, as prime minister.
Even after PAIGC won an absolute majority, Vaz refused to name Pereira as prime minister. He instead renewed the mandate of the consensus government headed by Aristide Gomes.
Pereira is seeking the presidency on the PAIGC ticket, in a political showdown that promises to leave the country deeply divided.
In power since 2014, President Vaz ended his five-year term on 23 June in a country with a history of coups. Since then, he has remained at the helm of the country but appointed a council of ministers responsible for the day to day running of the state, until elections in November.
Regional bloc ECOWAS, whose mediation efforts have focused on returning stability to the country, has urged calm.