BISSAU (Reuters) - Guinea-Bissau’s transitional government has delayed elections meant to draw a line under a 2012 military coup until March next year, according to a presidential decree on Friday.
“The decree fixes the election for March 16 next year,” read the document signed by transitional President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo.
The vote had been scheduled to take place on November 24.
The United Nations and the ECOWAS regional bloc had urged the coup-prone former Portuguese colony to complete the democratic transition before the end of the year.
Soldiers under the command of General Antonio Injai, head of Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces, toppled President Raimundo Pereira and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior in April last year, days before a runoff election Gomes Junior was favored to win.
The U.N. special representative to Guinea-Bissau, Jose Ramos-Horta, has said that $20 million has been raised to pay for the election.
Voter registration is due to take place by early December.
Guinea-Bissau, one of the world’s poorest countries, has gained notoriety in recent years as a transit point in the smuggling of South American cocaine into Europe. U.N. officials say, however, that smuggling has tailed off this year.
Reporting by Alberto Dabo; Writing by Daniel Flynn and Bate Felix