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Voting closes in Guinea-Bissau.

11/16/2008 1:17:48 PM

Citizens of Guinea-Bissau have voted in elections which international observers hope will stabilise the tiny West African country that has become a hub for drugs.Polling booths closed at 17:00 GMT for the country's electorate of over half a million to cast their ballots for the 100 seats in parliament.

Results could take up to 10 days, but the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cap Verde (PAIGC), which has been at the centre of politics in Guinea-Bissau almost continuously since independence in 1974, is the favourite to win the election.It faces competition, however, from the newly formed Republican Party for Independence and Development (PRID).

The PRID is headed by Aristides Gomes, a very close ally of Joao Bernardo Vieira, who was ousted from the PAIGC and won the 2005 presidential elections as an independent candidate.

The international community sees these parliamentary elections as a crucial step in rebuilding the country a decade since it was wracked by an 11-month civil war in 1998-9. The former Portuguese colony has been plagued by bloody coups and uprisings.

Recently the country, ranked as one of the world's poorest nations, has become a transit point for Latin American drugs destined for Europe. 2003 - 2008

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Date:Nov 23, 2008
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