Guinea-Bissau Government and Politics

The election was finally held in 1994, and here João Bernardo Vieira, Kumba Iala of the Social Renewal Party, defeated. After receiving 46% of the votes in the first round of elections in July – against 22% for Iala – Vieira received 52% of the votes in the second round and was thus elected. During the election campaign, Iala accused him of “tribalism” and racism. In the parliamentary elections, Vieira’s PAIGC received 64 of the 100 seats. Iala believed that the ruling party had “bought” votes, and he therefore refused to join the national unity government.

Guinea-Bissau Country Flag

In January 1995, the IMF granted a new $ 14 million loan to implement economic reforms. In June, Senegalese President Abdou Diouf visited the country, prompting closer contacts with Dakar. After a longer relatively hostile period, the two countries now agreed to jointly extract the two countries’ energy and mineral resources. In August, Iala Vieira’s approach to France criticized recent price increases for basic products – such as rice – as well as the government’s human rights violations.

In late 1995, Guinea-Bissau ratified a border agreement with Senegal signed in 1993. The border at sea was reshaped and it was decided that joint extraction should take place in an area believed to be rich in oil.

In August 1996, the government agreed to accept 44 illegal African emigrants expelled by Spain. The Guinea-Bissau Human Rights League criticized the government for accepting the request from Spain in return for money. In the United Nations Security Council, Guinea-Bissau supported a flight blockade against Sudan as it refused to expel 3 people suspected of participating in an assassination attempt against Egyptian President Hosni Moubarak.

Yet in 1998, Bissau allowed the Senegalese independence movement, the Movement of Casamance’s Democratic Forces (MFDC) to operate in the country. Yet, in January 98, Bissau’s military carried out an attack on a Casamance refugee camp near the Senegal border. This fueled rumors of renewed rapprochement between the two countries.

In November, the rebels and the government signed a peace agreement in Abuja, Nigeria. Nevertheless, in January 1999, fighting resumed in the capital Bissau between the rebel general Ansumana Mané and troops from the Vieira government. Mané had been ousted after accusations against him for arming Senegalese rebels. After 4 days of very bloody fighting that sent almost the entire capital of the capital to flight, a ceasefire was concluded.

On May 4, the United Nations asked donor countries that previously assisted Guinea-Bissau to return after eight months of civil war. Yet, three days later, Mané seized arms again and overthrew Vieira, seeking political asylum in Portugal. The military blamed Vieira for corruption and treason. From France, the coup was condemned and Mané accused of breaking the agreements between Abuja and Lomé, which had been concluded three months before.

In August, the FAO included Guinea-Bissau on the list of the 16 poorest African countries, while noting that the country lacked food and faced a crisis situation.

Five months after the coup, an open well of 18 corpses was found in the village of Portogole – among them the corpse of Vice President Correia. Meanwhile, the military regime had presented evidence to Portugal for Vieira’s “crimes” – in an attempt to get him extradited. On November 17, 99, just two weeks before the general election, General Mané stated that “if the president-elect does not fulfill his promises, he will be immediately dismissed.” However, supporters of the general confirmed at the same time that the military junta would be dissolved once the new president was in office.

Guinea Bissau Head of Government

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