BISSAU -Former Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister and ex-army general Umaro Cissoko Embalo won Sunday’s presidential election with 54% of the vote, the electoral commission said on Wednesday. Embalo, 47, who beat another former Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira in a run-off vote, will succeed incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz, whose tenure was marred by political infighting, an ill-functioning parliament and corruption. Embalo, who served as prime minister under Vaz from 2016-18, faces the difficult task of overcoming a long-running political impasse and modernising the West African country of 1.6 million people, which has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974. Pereira, from the ruling PAIGC party, had won easily the most votes in the November first round. But Embalo’s candidacy gained support from the main contenders who failed to reach the run-off, including Vaz. Other challenges facing Embalo include widespread poverty and an unstable political system in which the majority party appoints the government but the president has the power to dismiss it. There have been seven prime ministers since Vaz took over in 2014 and political instability has hurt the economy, which depends heavily on volatile prices for cashew nuts, the main income source for more than two-thirds of households. Traffickers also exploit Guinea-Bissau’s unpoliced waters and maze of forested islands as shipment points for cocaine en route from South America to Europe.
Indonesia rejects China’s claims over South China Sea
JAKARTA – Indonesia said on Wednesday it rejected China’s claims over a disputed part of the South China Sea as “having no legal basis”, after two days earlier protesting to Beijing over the presence of a Chinese coastguard vessel in its territorial waters. The boat trespassed into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone off the coast of the northern islands of Natuna, leading Indonesians officials to issue a “strong protest” and summon the Chinese ambassador in Jakarta. Speaking in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had said China had sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and their waters and that both China and Indonesia have “normal” fishing activities there. In a sharp rebuke, Indonesia’s foreign ministry called in a statement on Wednesday for China to explain the “legal basis and clear borders” regarding its claims on the exclusive economic zone, as based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “China’s claims to the exclusive economic zone on the grounds that its fishermen have long been active there…have no legal basis and have never been recognised by the UNCLOS 1982,” the foreign
Jakarta also noted that the argument had been refuted during China’s legal defeat against the Philippines in 2016 over disputed South China claims at Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Indonesia has no claims over the Spratly Islands, which lie to the northeast of the Natuna Islands.