Guinea-Bissau presidential election, 2012

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Guinea-Bissau presidential election, 2012

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  Carlos Gomes Junior.jpg Koumbayala.jpg
Nominee Carlos Gomes Júnior Kumba Ialá
Popular vote 154,797 73,842
Percentage 48.97% 23.36%
Emblem of Guinea-Bissau.svg
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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.[1][2] 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.[3] General elections were subsequently held in April 2014.


Following the death of Malam Bacai Sanhá on 9 January 2012, an early presidential elections were scheduled to be held within 90 days, in accordance with the constitution.[4]

No president in the history of independent Guinea-Bissau has completed his term in office: Three presidents have been ousted, one was assassinated, and another died in office.[5]


Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior resigned on 10 February to run for the presidency.[6] A total of nine candidates contested the elections,[7] five of whom ran in the previous elections in 2009. Their campaign literature was said to be "largely recycled." Carlos Gomes Júnior and Kumba Ialá were said to be the frontrunners in the election.[8]

Ialá's support base was primarily based on his Balanta ethnic group. Gomes Júnior had indicated he wanted to reform the armed forces, with which he had a tense relationship.[8]

Campaigning for the second round was due to start on 13 April and end on 27 April.[2]


UNIOGBIS spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said: "The election was held in a very peaceful manner. In the morning, participation was relatively weak but, all day long, leaders of the electoral body encouraged the people to go and vote, and it seems that people listened and went to vote because the participation finally increased." He also added that the election commission is mandated by the constitution to release the result within 10 days of the election.[9] However, the same night fears of military-linked violence increased with the assassination of the former head of military intelligence, Colonel Samba Diallo, just before midnight at a bar in the national capital of Bissau. The Guardian reported witnesses as saying that soldiers had fired at him and then taken his body away, possibly to a hospital.[10]


No candidate was able to attain a 50% majority in the first round. The leading two candidates, Carlos Gomes Júnior and Kumba Ialá were set to face each other in a runoff election to be held on 22 April.

Five of the first round candidates complained that the poll had been fraudulent despite independent, international observers stating that it was conducted fairly.[11]

Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Carlos Gomes Júnior African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde 154,797 48.97
Mohamed Ialá Embaló Party for Social Renewal 73,842 23.36
Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo Independent 49,767 15.74
Henrique Pereira Rosa Independent 17,070 5.40
Baciro Djá Independent 10,298 3.26
Vicente Fernandes Democratic Alliance 4,396 1.39
Aregado Mantenque Té Workers' Party 3,300 1.04
Serifo Baldé Guinean Salvation Democratic Socialist Party – Young Party 1,463 0.46
Luís Nancassa Independent 1,174 0.37
Invalid/blank votes 10,292
Total 326,399 100
Registered voters/turnout 593,765 55.0
Source: African Elections Database


Despite a peaceful campaign, there were fears of possible violence or a coup d'état if the army did not approve of the winner. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a "peaceful, orderly and transparent" election.[5] Opposition leaders, led by Ialá, called for a boycott of the second round because they considered the election fraudulent,[12]with Ialá calling for new voter registration to take place and warned against campaigning.[13][14]

The Director General of the Judicial Police Joao Biague announced that the former head of intelligence, Samba Diallo, was assassinated shortly after the polls closed.[15] On 12 April, elements within the factionalised army staged a coup d'état, leading to the arrest of both second round candidates, amongst others, by the Military Command and calls for a national unity government.


  1. ^ "Africa Review – Guinea Bissau presidential run off vote delayed to 29 April". Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "AFP: Guinea-Bissau second round vote delayed to 29 April". Google. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Bissau government to review Angola Bauxite deal, calls it unfair". Reuters. 23 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "AFP: Guinea-Bissau leader Malam Bacai Sanha dies in Paris". Google. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Location Settings (16 March 2012). "Guinea-Bissau wraps up poll campaign". News24. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  6. ^ UN Mission Pleased With Peaceful Election in Guinea Bissau VOA News, 17 March 2012
  7. ^ Elections in Guinea Bissau African Elections Database
  8. ^ a b "Guinea-Bissau counts presidential poll votes – Africa". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Peter Clottey (18 March 2012). "UN Mission Pleased With Peaceful Election in Guinea Bissau". Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Afua Hirsch, west Africa correspondent, and agencies (18 March 2012). "Guinea-Bissau votes to elect president but military overthrow feared | World news". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "BBC News – Guinea-Bissau set for presidential run-off". BBC. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Guinea-Bissau candidate says won't do vote runoff Associated Press, 22 March 2012
  13. ^ "BBC News – Kumba Yala boycotts Guinea-Bissau presidential run-off". BBC. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Guinea-Bissau: Soldiers arrest Prime Minister in apparent coup bid". GlobalPost. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "Guinea-Bissau poll marred by killing". 20 March 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2012.