Guinea-Bissau profile - Leaders

  • 16 June 2015
  • From the section Africa

President: Jose Mario Vaz

Mr Vaz vowed to fight poverty and bring stability to the country

Jose Mario Vaz, a former finance minister, won the presidential election run-off of May 2014 by a big margin.

Mr Vaz, from the dominant African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), defeated rival Nuno Gomes Nabiam, an independent seen as close to the army.

The 57-year-old is Guinea-Bissau's first elected leader since the army mutinied in 2012 and plunged into chaos a country already plagued by corruption and cocaine trafficking.

Following the 2012 coup, interim President Raimundo Pereira and leading presidential contender Carlos Gomes Junior were arrested and subsequently left Guinea Bissau. A transitional government led by Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo was formed.

Mr Vaz's election was meant to draw a line under those events, but Guinea-Bissau has a record of military coups, and no elected leader has served a full term since independence 40 years ago.

In a speech following his election win, Mr Vaz vowed to fight poverty and bring stability to the country.

"The chronic instability in which our country finds itself is not the cause of our problems," he told the crowds, and instead blamed "the extreme poverty ... which we will all fight".