Guinea Bissau. Politically, the situation at the
beginning of the year seemed to be as locked as last year.
The conflicts originated in a power struggle that has been
going on since 2015 between the African State Guinea-Bissau
Independent Party and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and José José Mário
Vaz, who himself belongs to the PAIGC. The battles have
concerned the prime minister's post, and the party has
refused to accept the heads of government appointed by the
Last January, the Prime Minister since November 2016,
Umaro Sissoco Embaló resigned. In his stead, Artur Da Silva,
who also represents PAIGC, was appointed, but unlike Embaló,
lacked support from the Social Renewal Party (PRS), which
stood on the president's side during the conflict.
In January, Carlos Gomes Júnior also returned to his home
country after several years of exile in Portugal. Gomes
Júnior was prime minister and had received the most votes in
the first round of the 2012 presidential election when he
was forced out of power in a military coup. He announced his
intention to be elected party leader in PAIGC but left the
country again when it did not become a reality.
Countryaah.com, the West African cooperation organization ECOWAS
threatened to impose sanctions on the country unless the
political crisis resolved, a threat that was set in motion
in February. 19 people who are close to President Vaz got
their assets frozen and were charged with travel bans. In
mid-April, the Prime Minister's post was again changed when
Aristides Gomes was appointed new head of government. Gomes
was also prime minister in 2005–07. At the same time,
parliamentary elections were announced until November. As
such should have actually been held in April, the National
Assembly extended its own mandate. The decision was made at
Parliament's first two-year meeting. A few weeks later, a
new collaboration government joined with ministers from both
PAIGC and PRS. In October, the elections were postponed
again, this time until January 2019.
At the end of August, the majority of the country's
13,000 public servants went on strike demanding a sharp
increase in minimum wages and better working conditions. The
strike was suspended in early August after an agreement on
wage increases was reached between the union union UNTG and
the state. In October, large sections of society were
paralyzed when owners of buses, taxis and trucks protested
against the substandard road network and the fact that
drivers were constantly forced to pay bribes to the police.
After an agreement to reduce the number of roadblocks, the
transport strike was canceled after a few days.