Elections in Guinea-Bissau: A Roadmap for Restoration of Constitutional Order

ImageFollowing years of political instability and uncertainty in Guinea-Bissau, elections are finally due in April 2014. In the event that elections are not once again postponed – as it has been happening since the last coup in April 2012 – and a democratically elected government takes office, it should be the international community’s priority to guarantee the safety of the recently-elected authorities and promote the development of infrastructures. In sum, an eventual return to constitutional order should be preserved by the threat of use of force so as to avoid future military-led coups, and, secondly, its constant meddling in political affairs.  

The international community should stop being complacent towards instability and lack of rule of law in Guinea-Bissau, and take a different approach by reinforcing its presence in the country. That would be done via an international stabilization force sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, whose mandate would be delegated to the African Union. Coupled with the ECOWAS force already operating in the country aiming at reforming the security forces, there are other countries with deep historical and cultural links with Guinea-Bissau, in particular within the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), such as Angola, Brazil and Portugal, that would be willing to contribute financially, technically and militarily to the cause.

Guinea-Bissau is at the core of European concerns, in particular maritime piracy which disrupts trade across the Gulf of Guinea. Moreover, in a more worrying level is drug trafficking. It has been widely reported that drug-trafficking in Guinea-Bissau is used to finance activities by international terrorist organizations throughout West Africa and the Sahel – a region where European countries have many interests, from the exploitation of natural resources and containment of dangerous Jihadist ideas..

Bearing this in consideration, this paper attempts to provide an alternative path that would be likely to change the course of events in the coup-ravaged, crime-dominated, and dysfunctional Guinea-Bissau, therefore serving the interests of the region and Europe.

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