President Vaz reappointed PM Gomes ending three-month stalemate, Vaz’s term ended 23 June, and regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said Vaz would remain in office until Nov presidential polls, but play no part in govt. With Vaz refusing to name as PM leader of ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) Domingos Simões Pereira, PAIGC 22 June, as compromise, proposed that Aristides Gomes continue as PM for second term “on behalf of peace and stability”; Vaz same day announced Gomes’s nomination but held off approval of cabinet. Opposition parties allied to Vaz Movement for a Democratic Alternative G-15 (MADEM G-15) and Party for Social Renewal (PRS) did not attend nomination ceremony. Parliament 27 June voted (54 to 48) that Vaz should step down and parliamentary speaker Cipriano Cassama should become interim president until Nov presidential elections. At 29 June summit, ECOWAS said Vaz would remain in office until Nov polls, but play no part in govt affairs. Attorney general 30 June opened criminal inquiry against speaker and PAIGC’s parliamentary leader for “subversion of democratic order” for trying to unseat Vaz. Struggle over parliamentary leadership continued to fuel protests: opposition parties MADEM G-15 and PRS demanded PAIGC accept their proposals for vice presidents of parliament; opposition and ruling coalition’s supporters staged rallies 6-7 June. After parliament 11 June suspended its session due to protests, MADEM G-15 chairman Braima Camará 20 June withdrew his candidacy for parliament’s vice-presidency in bid to resolve crisis and maintain peace; MADEM G-15 leadership same day said it would continue discussions to determine alternative candidate.
A legitimate civilian government, economic improvement and an army that has lost credibility are an opportunity for Guinea-Bissau. Regional and international partners meeting in Brussels on 25 March should commit to finance security sector reform to help the small state move beyond its history of military coups.
Guinea-Bissau’s elections are an important first step, but to address its economic and political fragility, the country needs strong international help, as well as political and military will for reform.
International actors need to commit to a common strategy to help coup-plagued Guinea-Bissau implement the security, justice and electoral reforms it needs to escape its status as a link in drug trafficking to Europe.
The ability of the Bissau-Guinean authorities to withstand the 26 December 2011 coup attempt bears witness to the improvements since the previous military turmoil of 1 April 2010, but crucial political, military and judicial developments still lie ahead as the country prepares for presidential elections in March and parliamentary polls later this year.
The killing of at least 160 participants in a peaceful demonstration, the rape of many women protestors, and the arrest of political leaders by security forces in Conakry on 28 September 2009 showed starkly the dangers that continued military rule poses to Guinea’s stability and to a region where three fragile countries are only just recovering from civil wars.
The assassinations of the chief of defence staff, General Batista Tagme Na Wai, on 1 March 2009 and President Joao Bernardo Nino Vieira early the next day have plunged Guinea-Bissau into deep uncertainty. National Assembly Speaker Raimundo Pereira was quickly sworn in as interim president pending the election the constitution requires.
On 12 April 2012 a military uprising ousted former prime minister Carlos Gomes Júnior just as he was about to compete in a run-off presidential election that he was poised to win. Gabriela Keseberg Dávalos, Crisis Group's Senior Communications Officer, and Vincent Foucher, West Africa Senior Analyst, were in Bissau to examine the current situation in the country, the reasons for the overthrow and the priorities of the new transitional government.
On 12 April 2012, a military uprising ousted former prime minister Carlos Gomes Júnior just as he was about to compete in a run-off presidential election that he was poised to win. Crisis Group's Gabriela Keseberg Dávalos, Senior Communications Officer, and Vincent Foucher, West Africa Senior Analyst, were in Bissau to examine the current situation in the country.