Guinea-Bissau News & Current Events

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
A Presidential Assassination, A Death, and A Coup


President Vieira was shot to death by army troops in March 2009. The assassination was said to be in retaliation for an earlier bomb attack that killed the army chief of staff, Gen. Batista Tagme Na Wai, which troops blamed on the president. The military denied a coup attempt.

In June presidential elections, former acting president Malam Bacai Sanha took 39.6% of the vote, former president Kumba Iala 29.4%, former interim president Henrique Rosa 24%, and Iaya Djalo 3.1%. Sanha prevailed over Iala in the July run-off election, winning 63% of the vote.

In Jan. 2012, Sanha died unexpectedly, leaving Guinea-Bissau leaderless. Acting president Raimundo Pereira and acting prime minister Adiato Diallo Nandigna were removed in a coup on April 12. A transition president, who may rule up to 2 years, was announced on April 20: Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, who came in third place in the first round of the presidential election in March. He named Rui Duarte de Barros to be transitional prime minister. The National Transition Council, which will oversee the transition, will be headed by Braima Sori Djalo. Six weeks after the coup, the military junta returned power to the civilian government.


José Mário Vaz Wins Presidential Election


José Mário Vaz took office on June 23, 2014, after securing enough votes—61.9% to Nuno Gomes Nabiam's 38.1%—during the second round of presidential voting on May 18. Domingos Simos Pereira, the leader of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) was named prime minister. The U.S. State Department offered these words, "These elections offer the opportunity for comprehensive reforms to break Guinea-Bissau's cycle of corruption, and make progress on providing public services and advancing the country's development."

In August 2015, President Vaz dismissed the government, including Prime Minister Pereira. Vaz appointed former Minister of National Defense Baciro Djá as the new prime minister on August 20. However, Djá's appointment was contested by his own political party, PAIGC. His appointment also raised concerns from the Economic Community of West African States, a 15-member collective, about the president being able to substitute the role of prime minister. The following month, the Supreme Court ruled that Djá's appointment was unconstitutional. He resigned on Sept. 9.

See also Encyclopedia: Guinea-Bissau .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Guinea-Bissau