Post-electoral standoff intensified as ruling party continued to contest its candidate’s defeat in late Dec 2019 presidential election. Electoral commission (CNE) 4 Feb again confirmed former PM Umaro Sissoco Embaló as winner after regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 31 Jan requested it respond to Supreme Court’s request to make further checks. Defeated candidate of ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) Domingos Simões Pereira 5 Feb filed new appeal with Supreme Court requesting election be annulled, citing irregularities. ECOWAS 9 Feb gave Supreme Court six days to release ruling; latter 14 Feb denounced interference by regional bloc, rejected Pereira’s appeal, but requested CNE again check results’ accuracy. Embaló 19 Feb denounced ruling, while CNE said it had already fulfilled similar request and results were definitive. ECOWAS 22 Feb called on CNE and Supreme Court to break deadlock, warned it may impose sanctions against actors who hamper resolution of post-electoral standoff. Pereira 26 Feb filed new complaint with Supreme Court. Both sides late Feb took steps to affirm their grip on power: Embaló 27 Feb took oath as president during ceremony at hotel reception hall in Bissau organised by parliament’s VP Nabiam, in presence of outgoing President Vaz and senior military officials and 28 Feb appointed Nabiam as PM; PAIGC denounced moves as coup attempt and PAIGC-controlled parliament same day swore in parliament’s President Cassamá as interim president. Security forces aligned with Embaló reportedly increased their presence in Bissau 28-29 Feb.
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.