Guinea Bissau’s president sacks govt amid row with PM

José_Mário_Vaz_2014GUINEA Bissau’s President Jose Mario Vaz has dismissed the government of the fragile West African nation because of a deepening power struggle with the prime minister.

Tensions, fed by overlapping duties in Guinea Bissau’s semi-presidential system, have grown between the president and Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira since elections restored civilian rule last year following a 2012 coup.

In a presidential statement issued late on Wednesday announcing his decision to dismiss Pereira and his cabinet with immediate effect, Vaz referred to what he called “a breach of trust” between the two men.

There was no immediate reaction from the prime minister, but PAIGC, the ruling party to which both Vaz and Pereira belong, was due to hold a press conference in the capital Bissau yesterday.

Pereira had previously said PAIGC was planning a convention this year to address the tensions, with a committee expected to study the constitution and clarify the two leaders’ responsibilities.

Lori-Ann Theroux-Benoni, director of the Institute of Security Studies’ West Africa office, said the row between Vaz and Pereira was just the latest tug-of-war linked to the lack of clarity in the division of power.

“It’s clearly a power struggle, and unfortunately power struggles in Guinea Bissau have not ended well in the past,” she said.

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