The latest incumbent can do little to break the current political impasse.President Jose Mario Vaz named a new prime minister late on January 30th, appointing Augusto Antonio Artur Da Silva by decree after the previous PM resigned in a bid to end a political crisis.The new prime minister's first job will be to organise fresh parliamentary elections in the coming months.The impoverished West African nation has been in the throes of a power struggle since August 2015, when Vaz sacked then – prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira.Vaz and Pereira – who heads the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) of which the president is a member – have accused each other of blocking the implementation of an accord reached in 2016.The agreement had envisaged naming a new prime minister “who had the president's trust,” and who would maintain his position until elections to be held in 2018.The appointment of former Foreign minister and fellow PAIGC member Da Silva as prime minister came two weeks after the resignation of predecessor Umaro Sissoco Embalo.Embalo had been in the post for less than a year and had lost the support of many within the ruling party.The presidential decree said that the appointment of Da Silva was part of “ongoing efforts to find a definitive solution to political‐constitutional crisis which has hit the country in recent years.”Under the current constitution, the choice of prime minister rests with the ruling party. But because the PAIGC has lost its parliamentary majority, Vaz has sought backing from MPs from the second party, the Party of Social Renovation (PRS), along with 15 rebels from the ruling party. (Guinea‐Bissau media; © AFP 31/1 2018)On February 6th, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions on 19 lawmakers and associates of President Vaz, including his son, over the continued failure to end the political impasse.A faction of 15 PAIGC lawmakers had broken away in support of Vaz while the majority backed Pereira.The restrictions, which include a travel ban and a freeze of bank accounts, target eight of the 15 rebels who back Vaz, six PRS lawmakers whose party has propped up the president in parliament, and five people close to him.His son Emerson Vaz, a businessman, was one of those named.Talks mediated by Guinean President Alpha Conde in October 2016 had led to a deal aimed at naming a new prime minister respected by all sides, with a view to organising legislative elections.But little progress has been made towards the points laid out in the so‐called Conakry Accord.ECOWAS took the decision due to the long impasse and after security forces blocked PAIGC members from holding a party congress.The appointment of Da Silva as prime minister was not met with satisfaction by ECOWAS, who decried “the failure to appoint a Prime Minister of consensus”, as he was appointed by decree. (© AFP 6/2 2018)Separately the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) on February 4th expressed concern over the prolonged political crisis and also condemned recent actions to prevent the PAIGC from holding its conference. (PANA, Addis Ababa 4/2) PM resigns p. 21712B
Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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