Guinea-Bissau’s ruling party proposes new PM

Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau’s ruling party has nominated its veteran deputy leader Carlos Correia as the new prime minister as the country struggles with a political deadlock that has plunged it into crisis.

Correia, 81, is a veteran of the former Portuguese colony’s struggle for independence and has already headed the government three times since the 1991.

The coup-plagued west African nation has been in turmoil since President Jose Mario Vaz fired prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira on August 12 over a series of disputes including the naming of a new army chief.

Pereira’s sacking put the head of state at loggerheads with his ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which denounced the move as a “constitutional coup”.

Pereira announced Correia’s nomination to reporters late on Wednesday after Vaz had announced he was allowing the PAIGC the right to propose a compromise candidate for the premiership.

Correia, the party’s principal vice-president, will become the country’s third prime minister in a little over a month if his nomination is accepted by all sides.

Pereira’s replacement Baciro Dja was forced to resign just three weeks into the job when the Supreme Court declared that his appointment had been unconstitutional.

Instability in Guinea-Bissau, which gained independence from Portugal in 1974 after a war with its colonial power lasting more than ten years, is nothing new.

The country has suffered intermittent unrest since its liberation, as well as a series of military coups attributed largely to the unprecedented bloating of the army after the war.

The chronic volatility has fanned poverty in the country of 1.6 million, with few resources other than cashew nuts and fish, attracting South American drug cartels who turned it into a hub of cocaine trafficking for west Africa.

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