Guinea-Bissau 1984 (rev. 1996)

Reference to country's history, Motives for writing constitution, Preamble


The Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), founded on September 19th, 1956, has accomplished in an exemplary manner its Minimum Plan [Programa Minimo], which consisted in the liberation of the people of Guinea and Cape Verde, winning the sovereignty of the respective States and, at the same time, launching the foundations for the construction of a free, democratic and socially just nation in each country.

After independence, the Party garnered sympathy, respect and admiration, in both national and international spheres, for the way in which it has conducted the destiny of the Guinean Nation, notably through the creation and institutional development of the State apparatus.

With the Movimento Reajustador of November 14th, the Party has reoriented its actions, correcting the mistakes that were hindering the edification of a united, strong and democratic society.

By adopting the current Constitution, which follows faithfully the thread of institutional evolution that has always reflected the ideas and choices of our people - a policy reaffirmed by the profound transformation being brought about in our society by legality, by right and by the enjoyment of fundamental liberties - the National Popular Assembly of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau reveals that everything it articulates is imbued with the humanism that has always inspired us and that is reflected in our rights and liberties as herein guaranteed to the citizens, as an irreversible victory for our people.

The Popular National Assembly congratulates the PAIGC for the vanguard role it has always performed in conducting the fates of the Guinea nation, and congratulates itself for the courageous and timely decision that the Party of Amilcar Cabral took by overcoming the challenge of democratic opening, towards the construction of a plural, just and free society.

The decision of the PAIGC follows in accordance with its historic tradition of acting at every moment as the repository for the deepest aspirations of our people.

Source of constitutional authority

Therefore, acting as a faithful interpreter of the will of the people and exercising its responsibilities as the highest sovereign organ, the National Popular Assembly approves and adopts this Constitution of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau as Fundamental Law, which shall enter into force on May 16th, 1984.

Part I. Fundamental Principles: The Nature and Foundations of the State

Type of government envisioned, Separation of church and state

Article 1

Guinea-Bissau is a sovereign, democratic, secular and unitary republic.

Article 2

  1. The national sovereignty of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is vested in the people.
  2. The exercise of political power is vested in the people directly or through the democratically elected organs.

Article 3

The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a State with a constitutionally established democracy, founded on national unity and on the effective participation of the people in the development, monitoring and guidance of public activities, and oriented towards the construction of a free and just society.

Article 4

  1. Right to form political parties
    In the Republic of Guinea-Bissau the establishment of political parties is allowed if in conformity with the Constitution and the law.
  2. Political parties are equally responsible for [assuring] the organization and the expression of popular will and of political plurality.
  3. Restrictions on political parties
    Parties must respect the national independence and unity, the integrity of national territory and the pluralist democracy, and must follow the democratic rules in both their organization and functioning.
  4. Prohibited political parties
    The formation of parties of regional or local nature, parties that sponsor racism or tribalism, and of parties that advocate the use of violent means to achieve its ends is forbidden.
  5. Restrictions on political parties
    The party’s name may not identify itself with any part of the national territory, nor display the name of a person, church, religion, confession or religious doctrine.
  6. The highest leadership of parties must be composed of citizens of Guinean origin.
Reference to country's history

Article 5

  1. The Republic of Guinea-Bissau proclaims its eternal gratitude to the combatant that, due to its voluntary sacrifice, have assured the liberation of the Nation from foreign control, reconquering our people’s dignity and right to freedom, to progress and to peace.
  2. The Republic of Guinea-Bissau considers as its honor and duty to:
    1. Act so as to guarantee a dignified life to the combatants that assured freedom to the Nation and, in particular, to those who, due to their participation in the liberation fight, have suffered physical disability that renders them total or partially incapable of working, and that shall be deemed the first creditors of national recognition;
    2. Guarantee the education of the National liberation combatants’ orphans;
    3. Assist National liberation combatants’ parents, children and widows.
  3. The National liberation combatant is the militant that, within PAIGC’s ranks, participated in the fight for liberation between September 19th, 1956 and September 24th, 1973 and that, having joined the ranks of the Party, and combat fronts, after this last date until April 24th 1974, revealed himself, by exemplary conduct, worthy of this title.
Separation of church and state

Article 6

  1. In the Republic of Guinea-Bissau there is a separation between the State and religious institutions.
  2. The State respects and protects all legally recognized religions. The activities of these religions and the practice of the faith are subject to the law.

Article 7

In the framework of its unitary structure and in the development of national interest, the State of Guinea-Bissau promotes the creation and supports all actions from decentralized territorial collective bodies that have been granted autonomy by the law.

Article 9

The Republic of Guinea-Bissau exercises its sovereignty:

  1. Over all the national territory, that comprehends:
    1. The surface within the limits of national borders;
    2. The internal sea and the territorial sea defined by law, as well as the seabed and underground;
    3. The airspace above the geographical area referred to beforehand;
  2. Over all living natural resources that can be found within its territory.
Ownership of natural resources

Article 10

Within its exclusive economic zone, defined by law, the State of Guinea-Bissau holds exclusive competence to maintain and explore natural resources, living or non-living.

Article 11

  1. Right to competitive marketplace
    The economic and social organization of Guinea-Bissau is based on the principles of market economy, subordination of economic power to political power and the coexistence between public, cooperative and private property.
  2. The economic and social organization of Guinea-Bissau has as objective the continuous promotion of its people’s well-being and the elimination of all forms of subjection of human beings to degrading interests, for the benefit of individuals, groups or classes.

Article 12

  1. The Republic of Guinea-Bissau recognizes the following property titles:
    1. State property, belonging to all people;
    2. Reference to art
      Cooperative property which, organized according to free consent, may be established over agriculture, the production of consumption goods, arts and crafts and other economic activities deemed as so by law;
    3. Right to own property
      Private property, which may be established over goods that do not belong to the State.
  2. Ownership of natural resources
    The State has ownership over the soil, the underground, mineral goods, the main energy sources, the forest wealth and social infrastructure.

Article 13

  1. The State may grant, by means of concession to cooperatives and other singular or collective legal persons, the exploration of State property, as long as it profits the general interest and increase social richness.
  2. The State promotes foreign capital investment as long as it is useful to the Country’s social and economic development.
Right to transfer property

Article 14

The State recognizes the right to inheritance, according to the law.

Right to health care

Article 15

Public health’s main goal is to promote the physical and mental well-being of the population and the balanced insertion in the social-ecological environment where they live. It must orient itself towards prevention, and must aim for the progressive socialization of medicine and medical-pharmaceutical sectors.

Article 16

  1. The aim of education is forming human beings. It shall remain closely linked to productive labor, shall facilitate the acquisition of skills, knowledge and values that enable the citizen to be part of the community and contribute to its continuous progress.
  2. The State considers the eradication of illiteracy a fundamental task.

Article 17

  1. Human dignity, Right to culture
    The State’s fundamental imperative is to create and promote favorable conditions for the preservation of cultural identity, as support for national conscience and dignity, and a factor that stimulates society’s harmonious development. The State preserves and defends the cultural heritage of the people, whose promotion must serve the progress and the protection of human dignity.
  2. Right to culture
    Conditions shall be created so that all citizens have access to culture and are encouraged to actively participate in its creation and diffusion.
  3. It is the State’s obligation to encourage the practice and spread of sports and other physical activities.

Article 18

  1. International law
    The Republic of Guinea-Bissau establishes and develops relations with other countries according to international law, the principles of national interdependence, equality between States, non-interference in internal matters, reciprocity of advantages, peaceful coexistence and non-alignment.
  2. Right to self determination
    The Republic of Guinea-Bissau defends the rights of all peoples to self-determination and independence, supports the fights of all people against colonialism, imperialism, racism and all other forms of oppression and exploitation, advocates the peaceful solution of international conflicts and participates in all efforts aimed at assuring peace and justice in State relations and the establishment of the new international economic order.
  3. Regional group(s)
    Without prejudice to the achievements of the struggle for national liberation, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau participates in African States’ efforts to materialize the principle of African unity on a regional continental basis.

Article 19

It is a Fundamental duty of the State to preserve, through all means, the conquests of the people and, in particular, the constitutionally established democratic order. The defense of the Nation shall be organized based on active participation and the active support of the population.

Article 20

  1. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People [FARP], instrument of national liberation at the service of the people, are the primordial institution in the defense of the Nation. It is their duty to defend independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and collaborate strictly with the national and specific services in the assurance and maintenance of internal security and public order.
  2. It is a civic and honorable duty of all FARP’s members to actively participate in the tasks of national reconstruction.
  3. The FARP obeys the competent sovereign bodies, according to the Constitution and the law.
  4. Restrictions on the armed forces
    The FARP are nonpartisan and its members, while in duty, cannot exercise any political activity.

Article 21

  1. The security forces are nonpartisan and their purpose is to defend the democratic rule of law and to assure internal security and the rights of citizens, and its members, while on duty, cannot engage in any political activity.
  2. Police measures are only those established by law, and shall not be used beyond those strictly necessary.
  3. The prevention of crimes, including crimes against the security of the State, may only be performed if in accordance to the law and by respecting all the rights, liberties and assurances of all citizens.

Article 22

  1. National flag, National anthem
    The national symbols of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau are the Flag, the Coat of Arms and the National Anthem.
  2. National flag
    The National Flag of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is formed by three rectangular stripes, of red color, in the vertical, and yellow and green, in the horizontal and in the superior and inferior right-hand sides, respectively. A black five-pointed star marks the red stripe.
  3. National motto
    The Coat of Arms of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau consist in two palm leaves disposed as if in a circle, united by the base, where a yellow shell rests, and connected by a ribbon in which is written the motto <<UNITY STRUGGLE PROGRESS>>. In the central superior part a black five-pointed star is inserted.
  4. National anthem
    The National Anthem is Esta É a Nossa Patria Amada [This Is Our Beloved Homeland].
National capital

Article 23

The Capital of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is Bissau.

Part II. Fundamental Rights, Liberties, Assurances and Duties

General guarantee of equality, Equality regardless of gender, Equality regardless of social status, Equality regardless of race, Equality regardless of religion, Equality regardless of creed or belief

Article 24

All citizens are equal before the law, enjoy the same rights and are subjected to the same duties, without distinction of race, sex, social status, social, intellectual or cultural level, religious belief or philosophical conviction.

Equality regardless of gender

Article 25

Men and women are equal before the law in all aspects of political, economic, social and cultural life.

Article 26

  1. Right to found a family
    The State recognizes the formation of the family and assures its protection.
  2. Rights of children
    Children are equal before the law, independently of the civil status of the parents.
  3. Provision for matrimonial equality
    Spouses have equal rights and duties in terms of civil and political capacities, as well as the maintenance and education of the children.

Article 27

  1. All national citizens that reside or are temporarily in foreign territory enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same duties as other citizens, except for those that are incompatible with their absence from the country.
  2. Citizens resident in foreign nations enjoy the care and protection of the State.
Restrictions on rights of groups

Article 28

  1. Foreigners, based on reciprocity, and expatriates that reside or are present in Guinea-Bissau enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same duties as nationals, with the exception of political rights, holding of public offices and other rights and duties that laws expressly assign to national citizens.
  2. International law
    The holding of public offices can only be granted to foreigners if of a technical nature, except when called for by international treaties or agreements.

Article 29

  1. International law
    Fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution do not negate other rights foreseen by the laws of the Republic and applicable rules of international law.
  2. International human rights treaties, Legal status of treaties
    Constitutional and legal principles relating to fundamental rights have to be interpreted in harmony with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 30

  1. Binding effect of const rights
    Constitutional principles relating to the rights, liberties and guarantees are directly applicable and binding on both public and private entities.
  2. Emergency provisions
    The exercise of fundamental rights, liberties and guarantees will only be suspended or limited in case of a state of emergency, proclaimed in accordance to the established by the Constitution and the law.
  3. Protection from ex post facto laws
    Laws that limit rights, liberties and guarantees are deemed as general and abstract, and should be limited to the necessary to protect other constitutionally protected rights or interests, and cannot be retroactive, nor diminish the essential content of those rights.
Emergency provisions

Article 31

  1. Martial law or a state of emergency can only be declared, in the whole or part of the national territory, in cases of effective or imminent foreign aggression, grave threat or disturbance of the democratic constitutional order, or political calamity.
  2. The declaration of martial law cannot affect the right to life, integrity and identity, civil capacity and citizenship, non-retroactivity of penal laws, right to defense of the accused and liberty of conscience and religion.
  3. The declaration of a state of emergency can only result in the partial suspension of rights, liberties and guarantees.

Article 32

All citizens have the right of access to judicial bodies to seek redress for violations of their constitutionally or legally recognized rights, and justice cannot be denied on the lack of economic means.

Ultra-vires administrative actions

Article 33

The State and all other public entities are civilly responsible, in solidarity with the heads of their bodies, employees or agents, for actions or omission that took place while on duty, and because of its obligations, that may result in a violation of rights, liberties or guarantees, or loss to a third party.

Right to information

Article 34

All have the right to information and legal protection, in accordance with the law.

Article 35

No rights and liberties assured to citizens may be exercised against the independence of the nation, the integrity of the national territory, national unity, the institutions of the Republic nor the principles and objectives established by this Constitution.

Article 36

  1. Prohibition of capital punishment
    In the Republic of Guinea-Bissau the death penalty shall not be applied in any cases.
  2. There shall be life imprisonment for crimes defined by law.

Article 37

  1. The moral and physical integrity of citizens cannot be violated.
  2. Prohibition of torture, Prohibition of cruel treatment
    No one shall be submitted to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
  3. Prohibition of slavery
    In no case shall there be forced labor, nor security measures depriving liberty for unlimited or indefinite periods.
  4. Criminal responsibility is personal and cannot be passed on.

Article 38

  1. All citizens enjoy the inviolability of their persons.
  2. Protection from unjustified restraint, Principle of no punishment without law
    No one shall be totally or partially deprived of liberty except as a consequence of judicial sentencing that condemns the citizens for acts punishable by law with prison sentencing or the judicial application of security measures.
  3. The exception to the principle set forth above is the deprivation of liberty for the time and according to the conditions established by law.
  4. Protection from ex post facto laws
    The law cannot be retroactive, unless this is of benefit to the accused.

Article 39

  1. All persons deprived of liberty must be informed immediately of the reasons for their detention, and this shall be communicated to a relative or person of trust of the detained, indicated by the latter.
  2. Protection from false imprisonment
    Restrictions on liberty imposed for reasons contrary to the Constitution and law oblige the state to indemnify the aggrieved, in accordance with the law.
  3. Protection from unjustified restraint
    Imprisonment or illegal detention resulting from an abuse of power confers on the citizen the right to habeas corpus.
  4. Protection from unjustified restraint
    A writ of habeas corpus shall be filed before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, in accordance with the law.
  5. Protection from unjustified restraint
    In case of difficulties in filing the writ before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the writ may be filed before the closest regional tribunal.

Article 40

  1. Protection from unjustified restraint
    Detention without prior establishment of guilt will be subject, within a period of 48 hours, to a judicial decision validating or upholding the detention, in which the judge is required to establish the causes of the detention and inform the detained, interrogate him and provide him with the right of defense.
  2. Right to pre-trial release
    The preventive arrest will not be maintained if it can be substituted for by bail or another provisional liberty measure established by law.
  3. The preventive arrest, before and after the finding of guilt, will be subject to the deadlines established by law.

Article 41

  1. Principle of no punishment without law, Protection from ex post facto laws
    No person may be found criminally liable if not for a violation of a previously established law that declares the action or omission as punishable, nor suffer security measures whose preconditions were not the subject of a previously established law.
  2. Principle of no punishment without law, Protection from ex post facto laws
    No punishment or security measures will be applied if not expressly defined in a previously established law.
  3. Protection from ex post facto laws
    No person may be subject to punishments or security measures more severe than those in force during the time of the conduct or verification of the respective preconditions.
  4. Prohibition of double jeopardy
    No person will be tried more than once for a given crime.
  5. No punishment shall require the loss of any civil, professional or political rights.
  6. Protection from false imprisonment
    Citizens unduly convicted have the right, under the conditions prescribed by the law, to a review of the judgment and the compensation of loss suffered.

Article 42

  1. Criminal procedure will assure all the rights to a defense.
  2. Presumption of innocence in trials, Right to appeal judicial decisions, Right to speedy trial
    All defendants are presumed innocent until the judgment is no longer subject to any appeals, and should be subject to trial within the shortest delay compatible with the guarantee of defense.
  3. Right to counsel
    The defendant has the right to counsel, and to be assisted by counsel during all procedural phases, being established by law the cases and phases where this assistance is mandatory.
  4. The judge is competent to conduct the proceeding and it may, according to the law, delegate to other bodies the performance of some discovery acts that are not directly related to fundamental rights.
  5. Criminal procedure is accusatory in nature, and the court hearing and investigation measures established by law are subject to the principle of contradiction.
  6. Regulation of evidence collection, Telecommunications
    All evidence obtained through torture, coercion, offense to the physical or moral integrity of a person, wrongful interference with privacy, residence, in correspondence or telecommunications is considered nullified.
Extradition procedure

Article 43

  1. Under no circumstances shall a national citizen be extradited or expelled from the Country.
  2. Foreign citizens may not be extradited on political grounds.
  3. Extradition and expulsion may only be decided by judicial authority.

Article 44

  1. Right to protect one's reputation, Freedom of expression, Right to privacy
    All may enjoy the rights to a personal identity, civil capacity, citizenship, good-name and reputation, image, expression and the protection of intimate privacy and family life.
  2. Limitations on citizenship and civil capacity may only be imposed in the cases and to the extent foreseen by law, and may not be based on political reasons.
Right to join trade unions

Article 45

  1. Workers have the freedom to join trade unions as a form of promoting unity, defending their rights and protecting their interests.
  2. In the exercise of the freedom to join a trade union, the worker is guaranteed, without any discrimination:
    1. Liberty of establishing, organizing and deciding on internal rules of association;
    2. The right to exercise trade union activities within companies, in accordance with the law.
  3. Trade unions are independent from the state, patronage, religious beliefs, political parties or other political associations.
  4. The law ensures adequate protection to trade union representatives against any form of restriction on the legitimate undertaking of their functions.
  5. Trade unions have to abide by the principles of democratic organization and management, based on regular elections by secret ballot of executive bodies, which shall not be subject to any form of authorization or homologation of workers, and that shall apply to all range of trade union activities.

Article 46

  1. Right to safe work environment
    Workers have a right to protection, security and hygiene at work.
  2. The worker can only be dismissed in the cases and terms established by law; dismissal for political or ideological motives is prohibited.
  3. State support for the elderly, State support for the disabled
    The State will gradually establish a system capable of guaranteeing workers social security pensions in old age, in sickness or when incapacitated.

Article 47

  1. Right to strike
    It is recognized that all workers have the right to strike in accordance with the law, and they are entitled to define the professional interest to be defended by means of the strike; the law shall establish the limitations on strikes in essential services and activities in the interests of the overriding needs of society.
  2. The lock-out is forbidden.
Right to privacy, Regulation of evidence collection

Article 48

  1. The State recognizes the citizens’ right to the inviolability of the home, correspondence and other means of private communication, except in cases expressly provided for in the law in relation to criminal proceedings.
  2. Entrance into a domicile without consent can only be ordered by the competent judicial authority in the cases and in the manner prescribed by law.

Article 49

  1. All citizens have the right and the duty to education.
  2. Free education
    The State shall gradually promote the gratuity and the equal opportunity of citizens’ access to the diverse levels of education.
  3. The right of creating private and cooperative schools is guaranteed.
  4. Public schools will not be religiously oriented.
Reference to art, Reference to science, Provisions for intellectual property

Article 50

  1. Intellectual, artistic and scientific creations are free if not contradictory to the promotion of social progress.
  2. This liberty comprises the right to invent, produce and spread scientific, literary or artistic works.
  3. The law will protect authors’ rights.
Freedom of press

Article 51

  1. Freedom of expression
    All have the right to freely express and spread their thoughts by any means available, as well as to inform, look for information and be informed without any hindering or discrimination.
  2. The exercise of this right may not be impeded or limited by any type of censorship.
  3. All persons, single or collective, are assured the right to answer and to request corrections, in an equal and efficient manner, as well as the right to receive indemnification for damages.
Freedom of religion, Freedom of opinion/thought/conscience

Article 52

  1. Inalienable rights
    Freedom of conscience and of religion is inviolable.
  2. All are assured the liberty of worship, which in no manner may violate the fundamental principles established by this Constitution.
  3. The freedom to teach any religion under its denomination is guaranteed.
Freedom of movement

Article 53

All citizens have the right to freedom of movement in all parts of the national territory.

Freedom of assembly

Article 54

  1. Citizens have the right to peaceful assembly in all spaces open to the public, in accordance with the law.
  2. All citizens have the right to demonstrate, in accordance with the law.
Freedom of association

Article 55

  1. Citizens have the right to, freely and without requiring any specific authorization, start associations, as long as they are not promoting violence and their objectives are not contrary to the law.
  2. Associations conduct their affairs freely without interference of public authorities and cannot be dissolved by the State or have their activities suspended except in the cases provided for by the law and as a result of judicial decision.
  3. Armed, military, militarized and paramilitary associations are not allowed, nor organizations that promote racism or tribalism.

Article 56

  1. Freedom of press
    Freedom of press is assured.
  2. Radio, Television, Telecommunications
    The creation of radio and television networks requires a license, issued in accordance with the law.
  3. Radio, Television, Telecommunications, State operation of the media
    The State will establish a service of press, radio and television, that is independent of economic and political interests, and that assures the expression and confrontation of the various strands of public opinion.
  4. To ensure the aforementioned and to assure the respect for ideological pluralism, a National Council for Social Communications shall be created, and it shall be an independent body of which the composition and functioning shall be defined by law.
Radio, Television, Campaign financing

Article 57

Political parties have the right to airtime on the radio and television in accordance with the law.

Article 58

In accordance with national development, the State will progressively create the conditions required for the full accomplishment of the economic and social rights established by this Part II.

Part III. Organisation of Political Power

Section I. General Principles

Article 59

  1. The President of the Republic, the National Popular Assembly, the Government and the Tribunals are sovereign bodies.
  2. The organization of political power is based on the separation and the independence of all sovereign bodies, as well as their subordination to the Constitution.
Size of first chamber

Article 60

The electoral system, the conditions of eligibility, the division of the territory into constituencies, the number of deputies, as well as the process and the bodies that monitor electoral matters will be defined by the Electoral Law.

Article 61

The holders of political positions are liable in civil, political and criminal terms for all actions and omissions in the performance of their duty.

Section II. The President of the Republic

Article 62

  1. Name/structure of executive(s), Designation of commander in chief
    The President of the Republic is the Head of State, symbol of unity, guarantor of national independence and the Constitution and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
  2. The President of the Republic represents the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

Article 63

  1. Head of state selection, Secret ballot, Claim of universal suffrage
    The President of the Republic is elected by a free, direct, secret and periodic universal suffrage of the electing citizens.
  2. Eligibility for head of state, Minimum age of head of state
    Voting citizens of Guinean origin and children of parents of Guinean origins, over 35 years and in full possession of their civil and political rights are eligible for the office of President of the Republic.
Head of state selection

Article 64

  1. The absolute majority of valid votes elects the President of the Republic.
  2. If no candidate obtains the absolute majority, there will be, after 21 days, a new ballot with only the two candidates who received the most votes.

Article 65

The Presidency of the Republic is not compatible with any other functions, public or private.

Article 66

  1. Head of state term length
    The term for the President of the Republic is of five years.
  2. Head of state term limits
    The President of the Republic may not run for a third consecutive mandate, nor during the five years following his second mandate.
  3. Head of state term limits
    If the President of the Republic resigns from office, he may not run in the next election, nor in those taking place within five years of his resignation.
Oaths to abide by constitution

Article 67

The elected President of the Republic will be invested at a plenary session of the Popular National Assembly, by the respective President, and will take in this act the following oath: “I swear by my honor to defend the Constitution and the laws, the national independence and unity, to dedicate my intelligence and my energies to the service of Guinea-Bissau’s people, fulfilling with absolute fidelity the duties of the high position I have been elected to”.

Head of state powers

Article 68

Are exclusive roles of the President of the Republic:

  1. To represent the Guinean State;
  2. Defend the Constitution of the Republic
  3. Address the Nation and the National Assembly;
  4. Extraordinary legislative sessions
    Summon an extraordinary meeting of the National Popular Assembly every time imperious public interest reasons so justify;
  5. Treaty ratification, International law
    Ratify international treaties;
  6. Municipal government
    Determine the election dates for the Presidency of the Republic, deputies of the National Popular Assembly and the chiefs of local power bodies, according to the law;
  7. Head of government selection, Head of government removal
    Appoint and dismiss the Prime-Minister, considering the electoral results and after listening to the political forces represented by the National Popular Assembly;
  8. Head of government selection
    Confirm the appointment of the Prime-Minister;
  9. Cabinet selection, Cabinet removal
    Appoint and dismiss other members of the cabinet, as proposed by the Prime-Minister, and confirm them;
  10. Create and dissolve ministries and secretariats of State, on a proposal from the Prime-Minister;
  11. Preside over the Council of State;
  12. Preside over the Council of Ministers, when appropriate;
  13. Supreme court selection
    Confirm the justices of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice;
  14. Selection of active-duty commanders
    Appoint and dismiss, according to a proposal by the Government, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces;
  15. Attorney general
    Appoint and dismiss, according to a proposal by the Government, the General-Attorney of the Republic;
  16. Appoint and dismiss Ambassadors, according to a proposal by the government;
  17. Accredit international Ambassadors;
  18. Head of state decree power
    Enact laws, legal-decrees and the decrees;
  19. Power to pardon
    Pardon and commute sentences;
  20. Power to declare/approve war
    Declare war or make peace, according to the established in Article 85, no 1, h) of the Constitution;
  21. Emergency provisions
    Impose martial law or declare a state of emergency, according to the established in Article 85, no. 1, (i) of the Constitution;
  22. Grant honorific titles and State awards;
  23. Perform all other functions that the Constitution and the laws have attributed to the President.

Article 69

  1. The President of the Republic is also competent to:
    1. Dismissal of the legislature
      Dissolve the National Popular Assembly, in case of grave political crisis, after consulting the President of the National Popular Assembly and the political parties present therein, and within the limits established by this Constitution;
    2. Cabinet removal, Head of government removal
      Dismiss the Government, according to Article 104, no. 2 of the Constitution;
    3. Approval or veto of general legislation
      Enact or veto, within 30 days from its reception, any pieces of legislation issued by the National Popular Assembly or the Government.
  2. Veto override procedure
    The veto of the President of the Republic on the laws of the National Popular Assembly can be overcome by the affirmative vote of a majority of two thirds of Congress members in office.
Head of state decree power

Article 70

The President of the Republic may enact presidential decrees while performing his duties.

Head of state replacement

Article 71

  1. In case of absence abroad or temporary impediment, the President of the National Popular Assembly will temporarily substitute the President of the Republic.
  2. The President of the National Popular Assembly will assume the functions of the President of the Republic in case of death or definitive impediment; in case the former is also impeded, its own substitute shall take the place until the confirmation of a newly elected President.
  3. The new President will be elected within 60 days.
  4. The interim President of the Republic may not, in any case, perform the roles established by items (g), (i), (m), (n), (o), (s), (v) and (x) of article 68, and items (a), (b) and (c) of Article 69, no 1 of the Constitution.
  5. The interim President of the Republic may only use the powers established by item (j) of article 68 to fulfill the requirements of no 3 of the present article.
Head of state immunity, Head of state removal, Supreme court powers

Article 72

  1. The President of the Republic answers to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice for any crimes taking place while in office.
  2. It is the responsibility of the National Popular Assembly to require the General-Attorney of the Republic to promote the prosecution of the President of the Republic; after a proposal by one third and an approval by two thirds of the members of congress in office.
  3. The conviction of the President of the Republic implies the removal from office and the impossibility of seeking reelection.
  4. For any crimes committed outside of its functions, the President of the Republic answers before regular courts, after the end of its term.
Advisory bodies to the head of state

Section III. The Council of State

Article 73

The Council of State is the political body of consultation for the President of the Republic.

Article 74

  1. The Council of State is presided over by the President of the Republic and composed of the following members:
    1. the President of the National Assembly;
    2. the Prime Minister;
    3. the President of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice;
    4. a representative of every political party with a seat in the National Popular Assembly;
    5. five citizens assigned by the President for the duration of its term.
  2. The representative mentioned in aforementioned item (d) will be chosen by vote between the members of the National Popular Assembly.
  3. The members of the Council of State will be confirmed by the President of the Republic.

Article 75

The Council of State is responsible for:

  1. Dismissal of the legislature
    Issuing a statement on the dissolution of the National Popular Assembly;
  2. Emergency provisions
    Issuing a statement on the imposition of a martial law or declaration of state of emergency;
  3. Power to declare/approve war
    Issuing a statement on a declaration of war and the establishment of peace;
  4. Advising the President of the Republic while on duty, when so requested.

Section IV. Of the National Popular Assembly

Structure of legislative chamber(s)

Article 76

The National Popular Assembly is the supreme legislative and political overseer, representing all Guinean citizens. It decides on all fundamental matters of internal and external policies.

First chamber selection, Secret ballot, Claim of universal suffrage, Electoral districts

Article 77

All members of the National Popular Assembly are elected by electoral districts defined by law, by means of a free, equal, direct, secret and periodic universal suffrage.

Article 78

  1. The members of the National Popular Assembly are called Congressmen;
  2. The Congressmen of the Popular National Assembly are the representatives of all the people, and not only the electoral districts that elected them.
  3. Congressmen have the duty of maintaining a constant contact with their voters and to constantly report their activities to them.
Term length for first chamber

Article 79

Each Congress will last for four years, beginning with the confirmation of the electoral results.

Oaths to abide by constitution

Article 80

The Congressmen of the National Popular Assembly must take the following oath: “I swear I will do everything in my power to fulfill, with total honor and fidelity to the people, my term as a Congressman, always intransigently defending the national interests and the principles and objectives established by the Constitution of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau”.

Legislative oversight of the executive

Article 81

A Congressman has the right to present enquiries to the Government, orally or in writing, and must be presented with an answer in the session or within a delay of 15 days, in writing, if further investigations are needed.

Immunity of legislators

Article 82

  1. No Congressman may be harassed, persecuted, detained, arrested, tried or convicted for the votes and opinions he expresses while in office.
  2. No Congressman may be detained or arrested for criminal or disciplinary matters, before a Court or outside it, except for flagrant violations that face minimum penalties of two years or more of forced labor, or when previous consent from the National Popular Assembly is granted.

Article 83

  1. Law will establish all Congressmen’s rights and benefits, as well as their powers and duties.
  2. The Congressman that is in serious breach of its duties may be expelled by the National Popular Assembly.

Article 84

  1. Leader of first chamber
    The Popular National Assembly will elect, at the first session of each legislative term, its President and the other members of the Board.
  2. The Board will be composed of the President, a first Vice-President, a second Vice-President, a first secretary and a second secretary, elected by all members of Congress.
  3. The tasks and the competencies of the Board will be established by the Assembly’s by-laws.
  4. Outside professions of legislators, Eligibility for cabinet
    A Congressman may not simultaneously hold office as a member of the Government.

Article 85

  1. The Popular National Assembly is competent to:
    1. Constitutional interpretation
      Review the constitutionality of matters, according to articles 127 onwards;
    2. Referenda
      Decide on popular referendums;
    3. Draft laws and vote on motions and resolutions;
    4. Approve the Governmental Program;
    5. Require that the General Attorney for the Republic files criminal suits against the President of the Republic, according to article 72 of the Constitution;
    6. Cabinet removal, Head of government removal
      Hold votes of confidence and censorship votes against the Government;
    7. Economic plans
      Approve the General State Budget and the National Development Plan, as well as the respective laws;
    8. Treaty ratification, International law, International organizations
      Approve treaties that involve Guinea-Bissau’s participation on international organization, friendship treaties, peace treaties, defense treaties, treaties of frontier rectification, and any other treaty that the Government has judged appropriate to submit for its review;
    9. Emergency provisions
      Issue a statement on the imposition of martial law or declaration of a state of emergency;
    10. Power to declare/approve war
      Authorize the President of the Republic to declare war or make peace;
    11. Head of government decree power
      Grant the Government legislative authority;
    12. Head of government decree power
      Ratify the decrees approved by the Government through delegated legislative powers;
    13. Review the State’s budget for each business year;
    14. Grant amnesty;
    15. Ensure compliance with the Constitution and the laws, and review the Governmental and Administration’s acts;
    16. Elaborate and approve its Procedural Rules;
    17. Perform any other rights and duties that have been assigned to it by the Constitution and the laws.
  2. If the Governmental Program is not approved by the Popular National Assembly, a new debate will be held within 15 days.
  3. Cabinet removal, Head of government removal
    The confidence vote before the National Assembly must be taken by the Prime Minister, after deliberation of the Council of Ministers;
  4. Cabinet removal, Head of government removal
    The initiative to vote on a censorship motion requires one third of Congressmen in office;
  5. Cabinet removal, Head of government removal
    The failure of a confidence vote or the approval of a censorship motion by an absolute majority will imply the dismantling of the Government.

Article 86

The National Popular Assembly has exclusive competence to legislate on:

  1. The Guinean nationality;
  2. Land use laws and regulations;
  3. The organization of national defense;
  4. The monetary system;
  5. Judiciary organization and magistrate regulation;
  6. Definition of crimes, punishments and other security measures and criminal proceedings;
  7. Emergency provisions
    Martial law and state of emergency;
  8. Definitions on the limits of territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone;
  9. Rights, freedoms and guarantees;
  10. Associations and political parties;
  11. The electoral system.

Article 87

The Popular National Assembly has exclusive competence to legislate on the following matters, except in case of authorization granted to the government:

  1. Organization of central and local administration;
  2. Public employees’ by-laws and the civil liability of the Administration;
  3. Protection from expropriation
    Expropriation and requisitions due to public utility;
  4. Status and capacity of people;
  5. The nationalization of means of production;
  6. The demarcation of property sectors and economic activities.
Legislative committees

Article 88

The National Popular Assembly may create topical committees as well as establish temporary committees to deal with specific topics.

Article 89

  1. The National Popular Assembly will gather in ordinary sessions;
  2. Extraordinary legislative sessions, Standing committees
    The National Popular Assembly will gather in extraordinary sessions when so requested by the President of the Republic, Congressmen, the Government or its Standing Committee.

Article 90

Government members may join and speak at sessions of the National Popular Assembly, according to the by-laws.

Article 91

  1. Initiation of general legislation
    The Government and Congressmen may propose legislation;
  2. Decisions by the National Popular Assembly may take the form of laws, resolutions or motions.
Head of government decree power

Article 92

  1. The National Popular Assembly may authorize the Government to legislate, by a legal-decree, on matters as foreseen by article 87. This authorization must establish its object, extension and the duration.
  2. The end of a Congressional term and a change in Government entail the expiry of the granted legislative authority.
  3. The legal-decrees approved by the Government under its legislative authority will be submitted to the Popular National Assembly for ratification, and this house will have 30 days to deliberate on the matter, after which the regulation will be considered ratified.
Leader of first chamber

Article 93

The President of the Popular National Assembly is competent to:

  1. Preside over the sessions of the National Popular Assembly, and assure the application of its by-laws;
  2. Convoke the ordinary sessions of the National Popular Assembly;
  3. Legislative committees
    Oversee and coordinate the work of the permanent and temporary commissions of the National Popular Assembly;
  4. Sign into law and order the publication, in the Official Gazette, of laws and resolutions of the National Popular Assembly;
  5. Handle the international relations of the National Popular Assembly;
  6. Carry out all other functions that have been attributed to the President by the Constitution or by the National Popular Assembly.

Article 94

  1. Emergency provisions
    The National Popular Assembly may not be dissolved in the 12 months after an election, in the final six months of a presidential mandate, or during martial law or state of emergency.
  2. The dissolution of the National Popular Assembly does not impede Congressmen from exercising their mandate until the opening of the new Congress after new elections.
Standing committees

Article 95

  1. Between legislative terms and during the period in which the National Popular Assembly is dissolved, a Standing Committee of the National Popular Assembly will function.
  2. The Standing Committee is presided over by the President of the National Popular Assembly, and is composed of the Vice-President and other representatives of the political parties that have Congressmen in the assembly, in proportion to their representation.
  3. The Standing Committee is competent to:
    1. Follow all Governmental and Administration activities;
    2. Exert the powers of the National Popular Assembly in relation to Congressmen;
    3. Extraordinary legislative sessions
      Convoke the National Popular Assembly whenever necessary;
    4. Prepare the opening of new terms;
    5. Emergency provisions
      Issue a statement on any imposition of martial law or declaration of state of emergency.
  4. The Standing Committee answers to and is monitored by the National Popular Assembly.

Section V. Of the Government

Establishment of cabinet/ministers

Article 96

  1. The Government is the supreme executive and administrative body of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.
  2. The Government implements the general policies of the country in accordance with its Program, approved by the National Popular Assembly.

Article 97

  1. The Government is composed of the Prime Minister, Ministers and Secretaries of State.
  2. Name/structure of executive(s)
    The Prime Minister is the head of the Government, and it is his duty to guide and coordinate governmental actions and ensure the execution of the laws.
  3. It is also incumbent upon the Prime Minister, without prejudice to other attributions conferred on him by the Constitution and the law, to inform the President of the Republic on issues regarding the internal and external politics of the country.

Article 98

  1. Head of government selection
    The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic in accordance with the electoral results and after consulting with political parties represented in the National Popular Assembly.
  2. Cabinet selection
    Ministers and Secretaries of State are nominated by the President of the Republic, after indication by the Prime Minister.
Oaths to abide by constitution

Article 99

Ministers and Secretaries of State must take the following oath when taking office: “I swear by my honor to dedicate my intelligence and my energy to the service of the people, performing my duties (of Minister or Secretary of State) to which I have been nominated in the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau with total fidelity to the Constitution and the laws”.

Powers of cabinet

Article 100

  1. In the performance of its functions, the Government is competent to:
    1. Guide the Public Administration, coordinate and control the activities of Ministries and other bodies of the Central Administration and Local governments;
    2. Reference to science
      Organize and direct the performance of political, economic, cultural, scientific, social, defense and security activities, in accordance with its Program;
    3. Economic plans, Budget bills
      Prepare the National Development Plan and the General Budget of the State, and execute it;
    4. Head of government decree power
      Legislate by means of legal-decrees and decrees over matters that concern its organization and functioning, as well as matters that are not reserved to the National Popular Assembly;
    5. Initiation of general legislation
      Approve bills and submit them to the National Popular Assembly;
    6. Treaty ratification, International law
      Negotiate and conclude agreements and international conventions;
    7. Selection of active-duty commanders
      Nominate and propose the nomination of civil and military positions;
    8. All other matters assigned to it by law.
  2. The competencies attributed by the aforementioned items (a), (b), (d) and (e) must be exercised by the Government through its Council of Ministries.

Article 101

  1. The Council of Ministers is constituted by the Prime Minister, who presides, and by the Ministers.
  2. Councils of Ministers specialized in certain subject matters may be created.
  3. The members of the Government must follow the Governmental Program and the deliberation of the Council of Ministers.
  4. The Secretaries of State may be summoned to participate in the Council of Ministers.
Head of government decree power

Article 102

The Government, gathered in the Council of Ministers, may legislate by means of legal-decrees and decrees.

Article 103

The Government is politically accountable to the President of the Republic and before the National Popular Assembly.

Cabinet removal, Head of government removal

Article 104

  1. The dismissal of the Government will ensue on:
    1. The beginning of every new term;
    2. The failure to approve the Governmental Plan a second time;
    3. The acceptance by the President of the Republic of a resignation request presented by the Prime-Minister;
    4. The approval of a censorship motion or the non-approval of a confidence vote by the absolute majority of Congressmen;
    5. The death or the prolonged physical incapacitation of the Prime-Minister.
  2. The President of the Republic may dismiss the Government in case of a grave political crisis that threatens the regular functioning of the institutions of the Republic, after consulting with the Council of State and the political parties with representation in Congress.

Section VI. Of the Local Government

Municipal government

Article 105

  1. The organization of the State political power encompasses the existence of local authorities, which enjoy administrative and financial autonomy.
  2. The local authorities are collective territorial entities of representative bodies, which aim to pursue the interests of local communities, without diminishing the unitary structure of the State.
Municipal government

Article 106

  1. Local authorities consist of municipalities, local sections and local boards.
  2. Municipalities will function in sectors, local sections will function in administrative sections and local boards will function through resident associations.
Subsidiary unit government

Article 107

  1. For political-administrative purposes, the national territory is divided into regions, these being subdivided in sectors and sections; the law may establish other subdivisions in communities when specificity requires.
  2. The organization and functioning of administrative regions will be defined by law.
  3. In major urban areas and in islands, the law may establish, in accordance with specific conditions, other forms of organization for the local authorities, as well as other autonomous administrative subdivisions.
Subsidiary unit government

Article 108

  1. The Government’s leading representatives in regions will be designated as regional Governors, and in sectors as sector administrators.
  2. The Government may appoint and dismiss regional Governors, under a proposition by the competent Minister.
  3. The appointment to a sector administrator position will be made in accordance with the requisites established by the framework law.
Municipal government

Article 109

The duties and organization of local authorities, as well as the competencies of its bodies, shall be regulated by law, in accordance with the principle of autonomy of local government.

Municipal government

Article 110

  1. The local authorities have their own assets and finances.
  2. The system of local finance, established by law, should aim for a fair distribution of public resources by the State and by local authorities, and the necessary correction of inequalities between local authorities.
  3. The local authorities will earn the revenue derived from the management of its assets and the use of its services.
Municipal government

Article 111

  1. Local authorities are comprised of an assembly with deliberative powers, elected by direct and secret universal suffrage of all residents, according to the system of proportional representation, and a collective executive body responsible before it.
  2. The bodies of local authorities may directly consult citizens who are duly registered and with power to vote in the respective area, by means of a secret vote, to decide on any matters of their exclusive competency, in the cases, conditions and the frequency established by law.
Municipal government

Article 112

  1. Within the limits of the Constitution and the laws, local authorities have their own regulatory power.
  2. The administrative supervision of local authorities consists in the control of the enforcement of the law by the authority’s bodies, and shall be exercised in the cases and in the manner established by law.
Municipal government

Article 113

The representative bodies of local authorities are:

  1. The municipal assembly and the municipal chamber in the case of municipalities;
  2. The assembly of residents and the directive committee of residents in sections.
Municipal government

Article 114

  1. Sector administrators will have the right to participate in the municipal assembly, without the power to vote.
  2. The municipal council is the executive body of the municipality, elected by the voting citizens residing in the area, and having as president the first candidate of the most voted list.
Municipal government

Article 115

The Electoral Law will determine the form of eligibility of all the members of the local authority’s bodies, their composition, as well as the functioning, the duration of the term and the form of their acts.

Federal review of subnational legislation, Municipal government

Article 116

The National Popular Assembly is responsible for dissolving local authority bodies, after consulting with the Government, in case it finds acts or omissions contrary to the law.

Article 117

The National Popular Assembly has the power to create or dissolve local authorities, as well as to modify their areas, and these changes may be preceded by consultations of the bodies of the affected authorities.

Municipal government

Article 118

The local authorities participate, in their own right and in accordance with law, to the revenues from direct taxes.

Section VII. Of the Judiciary

Article 119

Tribunals are sovereign bodies with competence to administer justice on behalf of the people.

Article 120

  1. Structure of the courts, Establishment of judicial council, Supreme court selection
    The Supreme Tribunal of Justice is the supreme judicial instance of the Republic. The Superior Council of Magistrates appoints its judges.
  2. The President of the Republic swears in judges of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.
  3. Structure of the courts
    It is incumbent upon the Supreme Tribunal of Justice and tribunals instituted by law to exercise the jurisdictional function.
  4. Judicial independence
    In the exercise of their jurisdictional function, tribunals are independent and only subjected to the law.
  5. Establishment of judicial council
    The Superior Council of Magistrates is the superior body of management and discipline of the judicial magistrates.
  6. Establishment of judicial council
    The Superior Council of Magistrates will contain, at least, representatives of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, of other tribunals, and of the National Popular Assembly, according to the terms established by law.

Article 121

  1. It is forbidden to create tribunals exclusively for the trial of certain categories of crimes.
  2. Are exceptions to the previous item:
    1. Establishment of military courts
      The military tribunals, which are responsible for the trial of essentially military crimes as defined by law;
    2. Establishment of administrative courts
      Administrative, fiscal and auditing tribunals.

Article 122

The law may create tribunals to resolve social disputes, whether civil or criminal.

Article 123

  1. The judge performs its duties with total fidelity to the fundamental principles and objectives of this Constitution.
  2. Judicial independence
    In the performance of its duties, the judge is independent and must only obey the law and his conscience.
  3. The judge is not responsible for his trials and decisions. Only in cases specified by law may he be subject to civil, criminal or disciplinary liability connected with the performance of its duties.
  4. Establishment of judicial council, Supreme/ordinary court judge removal, Ordinary court selection
    The Supreme Council of Magistrates, in accordance with the law, is responsible for the appointment, dismissal, placement, promotion and transfer of judges of judicial tribunals, as well as the adoption of disciplinary measures.
Supreme court powers

Article 124

The law will regulate the organization, competence and functioning of the bodies responsible for administering justice.

Attorney general

Article 125

  1. The Public Attorney’s Office [Ministério Público] is the State body responsible together with the tribunals, for monitoring the rule of law and representing public and social interests, and is in charge of filing criminal claims.
  2. The Public Attorney’s Office is to be organized under a hierarchical structure, under the direction of the General-Attorney of the Republic.
  3. The Attorney General of the Republic is appointed by the President of the Republic, after consultation with the Government.

Part IV. Guarantees and Review of the Constitution

Section I. The Monitoring and Constitutionality of Laws

Constitutionality of legislation, Constitutional interpretation

Article 126

  1. In cases submitted for trial, tribunals may not apply rules that contravene the Constitution or the principles enshrined therein.
  2. Matters of unconstitutionality may be raised by the tribunal of its own motion, by the Public Attorney’s Office, or by any of the parties.
  3. After acknowledging the matter of unconstitutionality, the incident will be separately submitted to the Superior Tribunal of Justice, which will decide in a plenary session.
  4. All constitutional review rulings issued by the full body of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice will be generally and fully enforceable and will be published on the Official Gazette.
Constitution amendment procedure

Section II. Of Constitutional Revision

Article 127

  1. The National Popular Assembly may revise the present Constitution at any time.
  2. The initiative of Constitutional revision falls within the competence of the Congressman.

Article 128

  1. Revision bills will always indicate the articles to be reviewed, and the purposes of the modifications that are intended.
  2. Revision bills will always be submitted to the National Popular Assembly by at least one third of the Congressmen on duty.

Article 129

The revision bills will have to be approved by a majority of two thirds of the Congressmen that constitute the assembly.

Unamendable provisions

Article 130

No draft revision may affect:

  1. The unitary structure and the republic form of the State;
  2. The secular nature of the state;
  3. The integrity of the national territory;
  4. The national Symbols, the Flag and the National Anthem;
  5. The Rights, liberties and guarantees of citizens;
  6. The fundamental Rights of workers;
  7. The direct, equal, secret and regular universal suffrage for deciding the holders of sovereign elected positions;
  8. Political pluralism and pluralism of expression, the political parties and the right to democratic opposition;
  9. The separation and interdependence of sovereign bodies;
  10. The independence of tribunals.
Emergency provisions

Article 131

No draft or proposed revision may be presented, debated or voted when martial law or state of emergency is in place.

Transitional provisions

Part V. Final and Transitory Dispositions

Article 132

The members of the security forces, on duty, currently congressmen of the National Popular Assembly will continue to hold office until the next legislative elections.

Article 133

The State bodies established by the Constitution of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau of May 16th, 1984, shall remain in office until the taking of office of the members of the sovereign bodies that have been selected by the respective electoral processes.