Guinea Bissau. According to countryaah, Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior and his African Independence Party for Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which won the parliamentary elections in November 2008, formed a new government on January 2. Later that month, Army Chief General Tagme Na Waie was shot by soldiers from the Presidential Guard. Strong tensions prevailed for several months between President João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira and the general. On the night of March 2, Tagme Na Waie was killed in a bomb attack. A few hours later, President Vieira was shot dead by soldiers in what several assessors described as revenge for the general’s assassination.
In recent years, Guinea-Bissau has become a transhipment port for South American leagues smuggling cocaine into Europe and speculation has been raised as to whether the murders had to do with the drug trade. Several military but also politicians were suspected of having interests in smuggling traffic. From a military point of view, it was emphasized that the assassination of the president had been carried out by a small and isolated group within the army.
In accordance with the constitution, President Raimundo Pereira was appointed new temporary head of state until presidential elections could be held. Pereira appealed to the outside world for help in maintaining stability in the country. In April, the government party, the opposition, the military, civilian organizations and foreign observers decided to postpone the elections in June to allow more time for preparation. In May, Brazil promised to contribute both money and staff to the elections. The EU also promised financial support.
In April, PAIGC appointed Malam Bacai Sanhá as the presidential candidate of the ruling party, in competition with, among others, Pereira. The government found it difficult to manage payroll payments to all public servants, and both teachers and health care workers struck during the spring to express their displeasure. In early June, reports of a coup attempt came, at a time when both the prime minister and the interim president were abroad. Several leading politicians were accused of planning a coup and at least five people were killed by men in uniform. Among the victims were Baciro Dabo, a minister who would have run as an independent candidate in the presidential election, as well as former Prime Minister Faustino Fudut Imbali. A number of PAIGC members were arrested.
The murders of politicians were condemned by both the UN and the EU, the African Union (AU) and the regional cooperation organization ECOWAS. Nevertheless, the presidential election was held as planned June 28. Eleven presidential candidates ran in the election, which however was first decided in a second round of elections on July 26. PAIGC’s candidate Sanhá received 63 percent of the vote, thus defeating Kumba Ialá from the Social Renewal Parties (PRS). Voter turnout was just over 61 percent, significantly lower than in the 2008 parliamentary elections, when a full 82 percent of Guineans voted.