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Post-Colonial Period

Page history last edited by Anand Sheth 13 years, 2 months ago


Post-Colonial History of Guinea-Bissau



Portuguese Guinea and the Cape Verde islands become separately independent, in 1974 and 1975, as the republics of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. Leading members of the PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) provide the two presidents - Luis Almeida de Cabral in Guinea-Bissau, and Aristides Pereira in Cape Verde.



The original intention on both sides was to merge the new states, but Cape Verde changed its view after Luis Cabral was ousted in a coup in Guinea-Bissau in 1980. Pereira changes the name of his party from PAIGV to PAICV (African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde).



The coup in Guinea-Bissau brings to power a major in the army, João Bernardo Vieira. He rules first through a revolutionary council and then, from 1984, through a council of state supported by an assembly of 150 appointed members.



The PAIGC remains as yet the only political party, but in 1991 a multiparty system is introduced in a new constitution. Ten opposition parties are registered before the elections, which are eventually held in 1994.


The PAIGC wins 64 of the 100 seats in the new assembly, but in the race for the presidency Vieira only narrowly defeats Kumba Iala (Yala), leader of the Party for Social Renovation.



In 1998 the country is briefly on the brink of civil war after President Vieira dismisses his army commander Ansumane Mane. Fighting breaks out between the general’s supporters and forces loyal to the government. Senegal (which in 1995 reached agreement with Guinea-Bissau for the exploitation of a shared offshore oil field) sent in troops in support of Vieira. Several hundred people die before the rebellion is contained.



In 1994, 20 years after independence from Portugal, the country’s first multiparty legislative and presidential elections were held. An army uprising that triggered the Guinea-Bissau Civil War in 1998, created hundreds of thousands of displaced persons. The president was ousted by a military junta in 7 May 1999.



An interim government turned over power in February 2000 when opposition leader Kumba Ialá took office following two rounds of transparent presidential elections. In September 2003 a bloodless coup took place in which the military, headed by General Veríssimo Correia Seabra, arrested Ialá, because “he was unable to solve the problems”. Legislative elections were held in April 2004.



In June 2005, presidential elections were held for the first time since the coup that deposed Ialá. Ialá returned as the candidate for the Party for Social Renewal, claiming to be the legitimate president of the country, but the election was won by former president João Bernardo Vieira, deposed in the 1998 coup.



Vieira was a candidate for one sect of the PAIGC. Vieira defeated Malam Bacai Sanha in a runoff-election, but Sanha refused initially to concede, claiming that the elections had been fraudulent in two constituencies, including the capital Bissau.



On March 2, 2009, Vieira was assassinated by soldiers. This may be part of another coup attempt. While on 5 June, several major politicians (Baciro Dabo, Faustino Imbali and Helder Proenca) were shot dead, officially to counter a planned coup d’État against the temporary military leadership. Malam Bacai Sanha is the current president.





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