Guinea Bissau’s ruling party appoints new prime minister

A month after the removal of two predecessors, Guinea Bissau’s ruling party, Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), appointed Carlos Correia as prime minister on September 17. Correia is the third prime minister to be appointed within the span of five weeks to head the government of the politically unstable West African country.

Last month, Guinea’s president, Jose Mario Vaz sacked Domingos Simoes Pereira before replacing him with Baciro Dja who resigned after two days in compliance with a supreme court ruling. Political tension in Guinea heightened after Pereira was relieved of his position as prime minister due to disagreements with the president. The clash of duties and exercise of power which is characteristic of a semi- presidential system of government, created tensions between both leaders who are members of the same party.

All efforts of the ruling party to address the feud between Pereira and Vaz were futile and led to the current state of instability in the government. Although Vaz was reluctant about the resignation of Baciro Dja, Pereira’s replacement, he could not go against the court’s ruling. As a way of curbing the crisis, the ruling party nominated three time prime minister and former vice-president of the party, Correia. However, there are speculations about how much the president agrees with this appointment.

Vaz was appointed president after the country’s first election to a civilian system of government and his government has since been riddled with a tense political climate and power struggle. There are speculations that the unrest could be leeway for another military coup d’état.

The former Portuguese colony has journeyed through years of civil war and political unrest since the independence. About nine coup d’états have been recorded in Guinea since 1974 owing to the strength and dominance of its military arm. The military coup in 2012 slowed Guinea’s social economic growth, heightened political unrest and increased its poverty level.

Guinea Bissau’s economic growth is expected to increase by 3.9% percent this year but the recent political crisis and power struggle could undermine this possibility. In 2012 and 2013, political uncertainty and tensions caused donors to withdraw financing from the agriculture dependent country and subsequently made the government partly put their public investment program on hold. The West African country has relied on foreign aid for years as its impoverished economy struggles to revival.

Last year, the United Nations called for peace and reconciliation between aggrieved parties of the government. If Correia’s appointment is made official it could put an end to the political crisis in Guinea Bissau.

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