Ex-Guinea-Bissau PM calls government’s dismissal “constitutional coup”
Former Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Carlos Correia denounced the dismissal of his government by President Jose Mario Vaz as a “constitutional coup d’etat” on Friday as a new prime minister was sworn in.
Opponents of Vaz protested outside the presidential palace on Thursday night, burning tyres and throwing rocks, after he named Baciro Dja as Guinea-Bissau’s new prime minister.
Vaz sacked Correia and his government on May 12 claiming they had proved incapable of managing a months-long political crisis.
“We are facing a constitutional coup d’etat because the dismissal of my government is unconstitutional,” Correia told Reuters.
Guinea-Bissau has been embroiled in a power struggle within the ruling PAIGC party since last summer, caused in part by the overlapping duties of the president and prime minister in its semi-presidential system.
Members of Correia’s government were still at their offices on Friday and he said they will not transfer their duties to ministers named by Dja.
The PAIGC said in a statement it would not support the new prime minister, who was sworn in on Friday.
It is the second time Vaz has named Dja to head the government, having appointed him last August after sacking then Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, the president’s principal rival in the PAIGC.
However Dja was forced to step down after the Supreme Court ruled his appointment violated the constitution.
He now has the task of forming Guinea-Bissau’s fourth government in 10 months.
The former Portuguese colony is notoriously unstable and has seen nine coups or attempted coups since 1980.
Vaz, a former finance minister, was elected in 2014 after the army was forced to hand back power to civilian politicians following a military coup.
Since independence in 1974, no democratically elected leader has served a full term in Guinea-Bissau. The political turbulence has helped it become a major transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America to Europe.
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