Guinea Bissau. With the death of President Malam Bacai
Sanha in Paris in January, Guinea-Bissau lost a stabilizing
force. New elections for the presidential post were
announced until March 18. The first round was won by Carlos
Gomes Júnior, Sanha's party mate from the African
Independence Party of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC),
who until the months before the election was prime minister.
But with 49% of the vote he failed to reach the 50% limit
required for victory already then. This necessitated a
second round of elections between Gomes Júnior and the
second of the elections, former President Kumba Ialá, who
had gained 23%. Ialá accused Gomes Júnior of electoral
fraud, but according to the Election Commission, the
election was right. Tensions in the country rose, not least
since a former head of the military security service had
been shot dead in the capital Bissau on election night.
countryaah, a few weeks before the second round of April 29, the
military took power. Behind the coup was the junta leaders'
concern that they would lose their influence through a
long-planned defense reform. Juntan demanded that Angola,
which played an important role in the reform work, should
leave the country. The coup was condemned by both the UN and
the EU and the African Union (AU). The ECOWAS regional
cooperation organization imposed sanctions on the junta's
leaders and several important donors withdrew their support
to Guinea-Bissau. Gomes Júnior and Raimundo Pereira, who had
been acting head of government for the presidential
election, were taken prisoner by the junta but released at
the end of April and could go into exile.
In May, ECOWAS took a softer line vis-ŕ-vis the junta
since it promised to reinstate civilian rule and hold
elections within a year. ECOWAS would also send a troop
force of over 600 men to Guinea-Bissau to create calm. All
parties, except PAIGC, approved the settlement. The
presidential candidate, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, initially
refused to become interim president, but later resigned. Rui
Duarte de Barros was appointed new Prime Minister. Ialá was
considered to have a pivotal role in the transitional
government. But even though it was now led by civilian
politicians, most judges were still convinced that the
military continued to rule behind the scenes. In June, the
Angolan troops left Guinea-Bissau.
Several of the coup makers, including General António
Indjai, had previously been accused of being involved in
drug trafficking from Latin America to Europe via
Guinea-Bissau. After the coup, there was a significant
increase in drug traffic. According to the UN, at least a
dozen small aircraft, suspected of carrying cocaine, had
landed in Guinea-Bissau only between April and June.
The unrest in the country was evident in October, when a
group of men attacked a military base outside Bissau. At
least seven people were killed in connection with this.
Several people, some of whom were politicians, were arrested
and tortured. The transitional government claimed that it
was a coup attempt, ruled by Gomes Júnior and Portugal,
where the former prime minister was now. At the same time,
it was speculated that the new rulers staged everything to
win sympathies from the outside world.
In November, the National Assembly re-assembled and
extended its own mandate until the 2013 elections.
During the year, the economy was hit hard by exports of
cashew nuts falling sharply due to reduced demand from India
and Europe. At the same time, many Guineans found it
difficult to cope with their living as food prices rose