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Presidential elections were held in Guinea-Bissau on 19 June 2005, with a second round runoff on 24 July. The elections marked the end of a transition to democratic rule after the previously elected government was overthrown in a September 2003 military coup led by General Veríssimo Correia Seabra. The result was a victory for former President and independent candidate João Bernardo Vieira.
Following the coup, a civilian government was nominated to oversee the transition and sworn in on 28 September 2003. Henrique Rosa was appointed interim President following talks with military, political, and civil society leaders, while Artur Sanhá of the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) was named Prime Minister.
A legislative election, delayed numerous times during the presidency of Kumba Ialá, took place on 28 March 2004. The poll was declared free and fair by election observers and the former ruling party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), won a plurality of the seats. Ialá's party, the PRS, placed second, followed by the United Social Democratic Party (PUSD). PAIGC leader Carlos Gomes Júnior took office as Prime Minister in May 2004.
The transitional period has been one of increased political and national stability. The caretaker government has managed to improve Guinea-Bissau's human rights record, as evidenced in the most recent U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices entry for Guinea-Bissau (released 28 February 2005, which says "The [Transitional] Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas". The previous report (released 25 February 2004) stated "The [Ialá] Government's human rights record remained poor, and it continued to commit serious abuses".
The biggest threat to stability came on 6 October 2004 when a mutiny by soldiers—instigated by unpaid wages —turned violent. General Veríssimo Correia Seabra and his lieutenant were killed by the revolting soldiers. Despite this setback, the tense relations between the government and the military improved with the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
On 10 May 2005, the Supreme Court published a list of candidates that will contest the election. Three previously barred candidates were allowed to contest the poll and appeared on the final list of candidates published on 18 May. The 13 candidates are:
Diplomats and political analysts say that the participation of the two ex-presidents Vieira and Ialá may exacerbate tensions among ethnic groups and the military that could destabilize the country. Ex-President Vieira has a troubled relationship with the armed forces. Ex-President Ialá, on the other hand, has a very poor reputation among potential donor countries and financial institutions, with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank freezing aid to the country during his presidency. He has a considerable amount of support from the Balanta ethnic group which dominates the military, but has little support from the other groups. There are unconfirmed reports of the establishment of armed groups along ethnic lines in Bissau.
Four candidates who were approved to contest the election withdrew in the weeks leading up to the poll; Abubacar Baldé of the UNDP, Iancuba Indjai of the PST (who subsequently declared his support for Malam Bacai Sanhá), independent candidate Ibraima Sow (who backed Vieira) and Salvador Tchongó of the RGB-MB.
On 2 July Ialá announced his support for Vieira's candidacy in the second round runoff. He called Vieira "a symbol of the construction of the Guinean state and of national unity because he proclaimed our independence in the hills of Boe" and said that he could "be relied upon to defend our national independence, to oppose neo-colonialism, to build the republic and promote peace, stability and above all, national reconciliation". Given Ialá's sharp hostility to Vieira in previous years, this endorsement was viewed as surprising by many, and there was reportedly significant dissatisfaction with the decision among Ialá's supporters.
It has been alleged that Vieira's re-election campaign was partly funded by Colombian drug dealers, who use Guinea-Bissau as a transit route to transport drugs to Europe.
Voting took place peacefully in the first round on 19 June. Chief EU election monitor Johan Van Heck said his group noted no major irregularities, adding, "We have the impression that throughout the country everyone has had the chance to express themselves without being intimidated." The next day, Van Heck praised the fact that "the military forces abstained from intervening in the process and rather helped the conduct of the election." The EU observer added, "More than 90 percent of the polling stations were fully operational an hour after they had opened, and the secret ballot was guaranteed."
On 22 June, provisional tallies put Sanhá in first place, followed by Vieira and Ialá in third. Members of Ialá's Party for Social Renewal (PRS) deemed the results "false". Two days later, at least two people died when police fired tear gas and live bullets at a crowd of Ialá supporters, who were protesting the released results.
Beginning on 25 June, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade held separate meetings with the three main candidates; Wade said that he was mediating at the request of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and was not interfering in Guinea-Bissau's affairs. Kumba Ialá, speaking at a press conference in Dakar on 27 June, accepted the results "in the interests of peace and stability", although he still maintained that he had actually received the most votes. According to Ialá, he won 38%, Sanhá won 28%, and Vieira won 26%; he alleged that the votes were manipulated so that his total went to Sanhá and Sanhá's total went to Vieira. Also on 27 June, Vieira promised to "respect the verdict of the ballot boxes", as did Sanhá, who described himself as "a man of peace and stability".
Final results of the first round were released on 25 June. Malam Bacai Sanhá received 35.45% of the vote, João Bernardo "Nino" Vieira won 28.87%, and Kumba Ialá 25.00%.Ten other candidates split the remaining votes. Electoral commission head Malam Mané made "a strong appeal for moderation and public-spiritedness." Voter turnout for the first round was placed at 87.3%.
On July 28, the electoral commission reported that Vieira had garnered 20,000 vote more than Sanhá in run-off voting, however, the results were "provisional" since the PAIGC demanded a recount, citing irregularities in the capital and in the west. After the provisional results were announced, Vieira praised his rival Sanha, called him a democrat and said he hoped he would help unify the country; he also vowed that "from today, Guinea-Bissau will change in the right direction". A spokesman for Sanha alleged fraud, however.
|Candidate||Party||First round||Second round|
|Malam Bacai Sanhá||African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde||158,276||35.45||196,759||47.65|
|João Bernardo Vieira||Independent||128,918||28.87||216,167||52.35|
|Kumba Ialá||Party for Social Renewal||111,606||25.00|
|Francisco Fadul||United Social Democratic Party||12,733||2.85|
|Aregado Mantenque Té||Workers' Party||9,000||2.02|
|Mamadú Iaia Djaló||Independent||7,112||1.59|
|Mário Lopes da Rosa||Independent||4,863||1.09|
|Idrissa Djaló||National Unity Party||3,604||0.81|
|Adelino Mano Quetá||Independent||2,816||0.63|
|Faustino Imbali||Manifest Party of the People||2,330||0.52|
|Paulino Empossa Ié||Independent||2,215||0.50|
|Antonieta Rosa Gomes||Guinean Civic Forum-Social Democracy||1,642||0.37|
|João Tátis Sá||Guinean People's Party||1,378||0.31|
|Source: African Elections Database|
Guinea-Bissau was dominated by Portugal from the 1450s to the 1970s; since independence, the country has been primarily controlled by a single-party system.
The politics of Guinea-Bissau take place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system, wherein the President is head of state and the Prime Minister is head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National People's Assembly.
This name uses Portuguese naming customs: the first or maternal family name is Artur and the second or paternal family name is Sanhá.
Kumba Ialá Embaló, also spelled Yalá, was a Bissau-Guinean politician who was president from 17 February 2000 until he was deposed in a bloodless military coup on 14 September 2003. He belonged to the Balanta ethnic group and was President of the Social Renewal Party (PRS). In 2008 he converted to Islam and took the name Mohamed Ialá Embaló. He was the founder of the Party for Social Renewal. In 2014, Ialá died from a cardiopulmonary arrest.
Carlos Domingos Gomes Júnior is a Bissau-Guinean politician who was Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau from 10 May 2004 to 2 November 2005, and again from 25 December 2008 to 10 February 2012. He has been the President of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) since 2002 and is widely known as "Cadogo". He resigned as prime minister on 10 February 2012 to run in the presidential election triggered by President Malam Bacai Sanhá's death on 9 January.
The African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde is a political party in Guinea-Bissau. Originally formed to peacefully campaign for independence from Portugal, the party turned to armed conflict in the 1960s and was one of the belligerents in the Guinea-Bissau War of Independence. Towards the end of the war, the party established a Marxist–Leninist one-party state, which remained intact until multi-party democracy was introduced in the early 1990s. Although the party won the first multi-party elections in 1994, it was removed from power in the 1999–2000 elections. However, it returned to office after winning parliamentary elections in 2004 and presidential elections in 2005, since which it has remained the largest party in the National People's Assembly.
João Bernardo "Nino" Vieira was a Bissau-Guinean politician who was the President of Guinea-Bissau from 1980 to 1984, for the second time from 1984 to 1999, and for the third time from 2005 to 2009. After seizing power in 1980, Vieira ruled for 19 years, and he won a multiparty presidential election in 1994. He was ousted at the end of the 1998–1999 civil war and went into exile. He made a political comeback in 2005, winning that year's presidential election. Vieira was killed by soldiers on 2 March 2009, apparently in retaliation for a bomb blast that killed Guinea-Bissau's military chief General Batista Tagme Na Waie. The military officially denied these allegations after Army officials claimed responsibility for Vieira's death.
The Guinea-Bissau Civil War was fought from 7 June 1998 to 10 May 1999 and was triggered by an attempted coup d'état against the government of President João Bernardo Vieira led by Brigadier-General Ansumane Mané. Government forces, backed by neighbouring states, clashed with the coup leaders who had quickly gained almost total control over the country's armed forces.
Elections in Guinea-Bissau take place within the framework of a multi-party democracy and a semi-presidential system. Both the President and the National People's Assembly are directly elected by voters.
This name uses Portuguese naming customs. the first or maternal family name is Bacai and the second or paternal family name is Sanhá.
The Electoral Union was a political alliance in Guinea-Bissau.
The Party for Social Renewal is a political party in Guinea-Bissau. It is one of the country's leading parties and is currently the main opposition party.
Ansumane Mané was a Bissau-Guinean soldier who led a 1998 uprising against the government of President João Bernardo Vieira, which caused a brief, but bloody civil war.
Manuel Saturnino da Costa is a Bissau-Guinean politician who served as Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau from 26 October 1994 to 6 June 1997.
Carlos Correia is a Bissau-Guinean politician who was Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau from 17 September 2015 to 12 May 2016. Previously he was Prime Minister from 27 December 1991 to 26 October 1994, from 6 June 1997 to 3 December 1998, and from 5 August 2008 to 25 December 2008.
This name uses Portuguese naming customs. the first or maternal family name is Ndafa and the second or paternal family name is Kabi.
Raimundo Pereira is a Bissau-Guinean lawyer and politician who was interim President of Guinea-Bissau from 3 March 2009 to 8 September 2009 and again in 2012, following the departure of President Malam Bacai Sanhá for medical treatment abroad; he continued in that capacity after Sanha's death. Pereira was elected as President of the National People's Assembly on 22 December 2008. Pereira is a member of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). He was ousted in a coup on 12 April 2012 and succeeded by Mamadu Ture Kuruma.
Presidential elections were held in Guinea-Bissau on 28 June 2009 following the assassination of President João Bernardo Vieira on 2 March 2009. As no candidate won a majority in the first round, a second round was held on 26 July 2009 between the two leading candidates, Malam Bacai Sanhá of the governing African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and opposition leader Kumba Ialá. Sanhá won with a substantial majority in the second round, according to official results.
Presidential elections were held in Guinea-Bissau on 18 March 2012 following the death of President Malam Bacai Sanhá on 9 January. A run-off was set to be held on 29 April after being postponed by a week as announced by electoral commission chief Desejado Lima Dacosta. However, after a military coup, the leading candidates were arrested and the election was cancelled. The junta's spokesman then announced plans to hold an election in two years, despite condemnation. General elections were subsequently held in April 2014.
Francisca Maria Monteira e Silva Vaz Turpin, better known as Zinha Vaz, is a Bissau-Guinean women's rights activist and politician. She has been a member of the National People's Assembly for several terms for the Resistance of Guinea-Bissau-Bafatá Movement, as well as a presidential advisor. In 1999 she served for a brief time as mayor of the capital city Bissau. She was jailed for political reasons for three years during the 1970s and in 2003 again for several days. Recently she was ambassador to Gambia.