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Guinea-Bissau president dissolves govt after row with PM

Jose-Mario-VazGuinea-Bissau’s President Jose Mario Vaz has dismissed the government following a row with the prime minister in the troubled country, a presidential decree said on Thursday.

The move comes after the president acknowledged a “crisis” in relations with the prime minister that were undermining the functioning of the government in the small west African nation.

“The government headed by Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira has been dissolved,” the decree said.

The 16-member government took office in July 2014, two months after Vaz became Guinea-Bissau’s first elected civilian leader since the army mutinied in 2012.

Vaz and Pereira are both members of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which fought for independence from Portugal, won in 1974.

“It is public knowledge that there is a crisis undermining the proper working of institutions,” Vaz said in a broadcast to the nation late Wednesday.

“The efforts made did not succeed in resolving difficult relations between the president and the prime minister,” he said, adding that a government reshuffle would have been inadequate.

Contentious issues included the appointment of a new armed forces chief, as well as corruption, the president said.

The military coup brought chaos to a country already in the grip of powerful cocaine cartels and beset by political violence.

US drug enforcement officials see the country as a “narco-state” and several senior military officials have been charged by the United States with drug trafficking.

Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by coups since independence from Portugal following a liberation war led by the PAIGC.

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