Guinea-Bissau held its long awaited presidential elections on April 13, 2014. Due to no candidates winning absolute majority, a second round was held on May 18. There were no female candidates in these elections.

Guinea Bissau ascribes to a semi-presidential system of government. The president is chief of state and is elected by an absolute majority vote through a two round system to serve a 5-year term. The president appoints a Prime Minister who heads the government, and a 102-seat assembly whose members serve 4-year terms.[1]

The former finance minister Jose Mario Vaz won the presidential run-off by a substantial margin. This election marked the return of constitutional rule following the 2012 military coup and the subsequent transitional government led by Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo. [2]

Given a history of military control and coups, assassinations, and corruption, the UN Security Council prior to the elections, called on all stakeholders, including political parties, defence forces and security organizations of civil society and traditional leaders' to refrain from any action that might hinder the election process, to facilitate the holding of free elections, peaceful and credible and to respect the election results as an expression of the will of the people. [3]

Women Political Participation

Articles 24 and 25 of the 1984 Constitution of Guinea-Bissau prohibit all forms of discrimination on the grounds of gender, race or religion.[4] Despite these provisions enshrined in the Constitution, women in Guinea Bissau are still lagging behind in terms of political representation.

An official study launched by the Transitional Government and the Women's Political Platform, with the support of UNIOGBIS was launched on March 18, highlighting the decline of women's political participation  from 20% between 1998 to 2004 to 10% in 2013. [5]


Some women have held positions of power in the country. Adiato Djaló Nandigna was acting Prime minister from February to April 2012. She was the first woman in Guinea Bissau history to hold such a position and to date the only. Unfortunately the government she was serving was deposed in a coup and she did not hold this position for long. The People’s National Assembly has 14 women members, accounting for 13.73%.[6] These include Minister of Defence, Cadi Mane; Minister of Justice, Carmelita Pires; Minister of Health, Valentina Mendes; Minister of Social Affairs, Tamba Nhasse Giloni Nan.[7]


In February and March 2014, the Special Rapporteur of extreme poverty and human rights visited the country and called upon the future elected Government to prioritize the equality of women in all spheres of life and to consolidate a legal framework that would increase the role of women in decision-making bodies.[8]


Overall, the lack of gender-related data is indicative of ongoing instability in the country and likely the lack of focus on this issue of female involvement in decision-making on a governmental level[9]Adopting quota incentives and economic support to change attitudes might help. Guinea-Bissau has not yet adopted the quota system. However, the issue of women’s rights in Guinea Bissau is slowly but steadily growing with initiatives to end gender-based violence, FGM, and to promote economic empowerment and gender mainstreaming.


Women’s Representation Statistics:


Women’s Political Representation

As of 2008

As of 2014

Female Members of Parliament

10/100 (10%)[10]

14/102 (13.73%)[11]

Female presidential candidates





[6] IPU PARLINE database: Guinea-Bissau People’s National Assembly,

[10] IPU PARLINE database: Guinea-Bissau,

[11] IPU PARLINE database: Guinea-Bissau People’s National Assembly,

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