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GUINEA-BISSAU: Uncertainty hangs over dismissal of prime minister

ABIDJAN, 21 March 2001 (IRIN) - The announcement on Monday that Guinea-Bissau’s beleaguered president, Kumba Yala, had dismissed his prime minister appeared to herald the end of a political crisis sparked by calls for the resignation or dismissal of the head of government.

However, one observer told IRIN on Tuesday that it would be premature to say that the crisis was over since Yala’s nominee to replace outgoing Prime Minister Caetano Intchama was yet to be approved by parliament, which is anything but a certainty.
While Yala’s nominee, Foreign Minister Faustino Imbali, has the support of the ruling Partido da Renovacao Social (PRS) and one of the smaller parties in the legislature, all other opposition parties have come out against his appointment The PRS has only 37 seats in the 102-member parliament. Thus, to obtain the approval of Imbali’s nomination, Yala needs the support of either the Resistencia da Guine-Bissau/Movimento Bafata (RGB/MB), which has 28 parliamentarians, or the Partido Africano para a Independencia de Guine e Cabo Verde (PAIGC - 23 seats).

However, both expressed opposition to Imbali’s appointment in declarations to the media on Monday.

Should the two parties maintain their opposition, Guinea-Bissau could face a prolongation of the crisis that developed some two weeks ago when the PRS pressed for Yala to drop the prime minister. Intchama’s detractors claimed that he was ineffective and constantly ill, which the prime minister denied.

Theme (s): Governance,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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