Below is a timeline of major political events since the formation of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) in 1956.
1 April 2010
Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior is arrested briefly by army deputy-chief, Gen Antonio Injai; while Adml José Zamora Induta, army chief-of-staff of the army is arrested by a group of soldiers supporting Injai
Former navy Rear Adml José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto, previously exiled in Gambia following an August 2008 failed coup attempt to oust then-President João Bernardo Vieira, is freed from the UN premises where he had sought asylum
1 January 2010
New UN Integrated Peace Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) is established
28-29 December 2010
Tchuto seeks asylum in UN building following cabinet decision to take him to court for a coup attempt, desertion from the army, and an assassination attempt against former President Vieira
President Malam Bacai Sanha is sworn into office
Malam Bacai Sanha elected president
Three senior politicians are killed by military police in what the authorities call a foiled coup attempt
President João Bernardo Vieira is shot dead by soldiers several hours after a bomb attack kills army chief-of-staff Gen Tagme Na Waie
The PAIGC political party leaves the “Pact of Stability” coalition government
The mandate of the legislature ended on 21 April but President Vieira passes a temporary constitutional amendment to allow the continuation of parliament until elections take place later in the year. The President also grants amnesty to individuals in the military and civilians who allegedly committed crimes from 1980 to 2004
Legislative elections are postponed
A tribunal declares a resolution making former Guinea-Bissau President Koumba Yala the head of Social Renovation Party (PRS) "null and void"
The PAIGC withdraws backing from Prime Minister Martinho Ndafa Cabi, ostensibly to avoid acts of indiscipline threatening cohesion and unity in the party
Parliamentarians form a majority coalition and the three major parties, the PAIGC, Party for Social Reform (PRS) and the United Social Democrat Party (PUSD) sign a “pact of stability”. The pact gives them the right to force the departure of Prime Minister Aristides Gomes who was nominated by Vieira after the sacking of Carlos Junior, and to vote in a new prime minister, Marthinho Ndafa Cabi. Donors welcome the pact and start to re-engage in the country after a period of relative isolation
Adml Mohamed Lamine Sanha, chief-of-staff of the navy, is killed. Sanha, an ally of Ansumane Mané who led a military rebellion against President Vieira in the 1998 civil war, was implicated in several coups against the government
Koumba Yala is elected head of the PRS
President Vieira appoints Aristides Gomes, former PAIGC deputy chairman, as prime minister
President Vieira sacks PAIGC Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior who was nominated by the assembly, citing “personal reasons”. After announcing on the radio that the president ordered the assassination of old members of the military junta that deposed him in 1999, Junior flees to the offices of the UN Peacebuilding Office until President Vieira can guarantee him his security
Joao Bernardo Vieira returns from exile in Portugal to participate in presidential elections, with financial backing from Guinea-Conakry and Senegal and support from the military. In the June elections Malam Bacai Sanha of the PAIGC presents himself as a candidate running against Koumba Yala and for the first time against Joao Vieira who participates as an independent candidate. Bacai receives the largest number of votes but not enough to avoid a second round. Yala, who came third in the first round, goes on to support Vieira and Vieira becomes president for the second time. International observers deem the elections fair and transparent. The military, under chief-of-staff Tagme Na Wai, ensures President Vieira understands they are a powerful political force and that Vieira requires their support to retain his hold
A group of soldiers led by Baoute Yanta Na Man attempt a failed coup. Gen Seabra, now chief of staff of the army, is killed by a group of military rebels who are protesting against salary arrears and the corruption of the military hierarchy, and Gen Tagme Na Wai, an ethnic Balante, is appointed in his place
Legislative elections are held as planned and the PAIGC retakes most parliamentary seats. A new government is formed under the leadership of Carlos Gomes Junior as prime minister
A military coup led by Gen Verissimo Correia Seabra ousts President Yala, a move that is welcomed by the population. A transition government is put in place to prepare for elections and in the interim Henrique Rosa is appointed president, and Artur Sanha, once secretary-general of the PRS, is nominated prime minister
President Koumba Yala dissolves parliament and calls for legislative elections but these do not take place and the country remains without a government for several months. Supreme Court judges are also sacked
President Yala's rule is characterized by chronic political instability as he constantly sacks ministers and reshuffles his government. Between 2001 and 2003 four prime ministers are nominated and sacked. Political crisis sets in. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank suspend aid due to poor financial accounting by government
Gen Anusmane Mané, a well-supported figure in the army, does not take up posts offered to him under President Yala's government, including adviser to the head-of-state, preferring to stay independent. In November he is killed by Koumba Yala's men
Presidential elections are held between Koumba Yala of the PRS and Malam Bacai Sanha of the PAIGC, a fierce opponent of Vieira. Yala wins with 72 percent of the votes and his victory is seen as progress for the Balante ethnic group as he is the first Balante to lead the country. Yala goes on to appoint many Balante in positions of power. Under his rule many members of the armed forces are promoted to become generals
The transitional government organizes elections in which the PAIGC loses its control over the National Assembly for the first time. The PRS party under Koumba Yala receives 38 seats and becomes the dominant party in the assembly
Remnants of Guinea-Bissau's 1998-1999 civil war.
A military junta takes control of Bissau, the capital, and President Vieira seeks asylum in Portugal. Malai Bacam Sanha of the PAIGC party becomes president in May 1999
Vieira sacks army chief of staff, Gen Ansumane Mané, leading to an army mutiny. A military junta led by Mané starts a civil war
The first free elections are held electing João Bernardo Vieira as president. From this point on the PAIGC dominates politics until the present day
Koumba Yala founds the PRS
Luis Cabral is ousted in military coup orchestrated by Joao Bernardo Vieira
Portugal grants Guinea-Bissau independence with Luis Cabral, brother of Amilcar, as president
PAIGC declares Guinea-Bissau independent of Portugal. Amilcar Cabral assassinated
PAIGC launches war of independence
Amilcar Cabral establishes the PAIGC
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
Help make quality journalism about crises possible
The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in 1995. We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more.
Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector accountable and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We’re on the ground, reporting from the front lines, to bring you the inside story.
We keep our journalism free – no paywalls – thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world. Your contribution means we can continue delivering award-winning journalism about crises. Become a member of The New Humanitarian today.