Raimundo Pereira, former speaker of Guinea-Bissau, has been sworn in as the new president of the West African nation. As speaker, Mr. Pereira was next in line to succeed the president, who was assassinated on Monday by suspected agents of the military. President Vieira was assassinated only hours after the army chief of staff, his political rival, was also killed by a bomb in his office.
The new president urged the international community not to forget Guinea Bissau. The impoverished nation of 1.5 million has seen slow recovery from a disastrous civil war in the late 1990s. With a per capita GDP of $ 213 ($ 600, PPP) it still has a long way to go. It is heavily dependent on farming and fishing, with cashews being the major crop. One can only hope that the new president will offer some change. I doubt this though. After the circumstances of former president Vieira’s death, it is obvious that president Pereira will be beholden to the generals in the military, at least until elections are held in 60 days – if they ever get held.