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Guinea Bissau prime minister names cabinet amid political crisis

by Reuters
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 15:17 GMT

BISSAU, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Guinea Bissau's newly-appointed prime minister Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo has named his cabinet, the government said in a statement late Monday, as he seeks to end a political deadlock in the West African country.

President Jose Mario Vaz dissolved the government and appointed Sissoco the country's fifth prime minister in little over a year on November 18. The last prime minister, Baciro Dja, failed to win the support of the largest party, the African Party of the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

The PAIGC, an organisation hit by regular infighting, also rejected Sissoco's appointment and said that it would boycott his government. Of 37 newly appointed cabinet members, only the minister of the presidency and parliamentary affairs Malal Sane is a member of the ruling party.

The other 36 ministers and secretaries of state include 12 representatives of the largest opposition group, the Party of Social Renewal, and members of three smaller opposition parties.

It was unclear whether Sissoco would be able to convene parliament and approve a budget with opposition from the PAIGC, which is led by former prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira who was dismissed by Vaz last year.

The former Portuguese colony has seen nine coups or attempted coups since 1980. Because of its political instability, it has become a major transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America to Europe. (Reporting by Alberto Dabo; Writing by Nellie Peyton and Emma Farge; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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