Guinea-Bissau president fires newly appointed prime minister

Umaro Sissoco Embalo appoints Rui Duarte de Barros as new premier

Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo on Wednesday fired Prime Minister Geraldo Martins, just a week after appointing him to the position, and replaced him with an economist and seasoned politician.

Martins was reappointed prime minister on Dec. 12 after assuming the same position in August of this year until the president dissolved the government earlier this month.

However, in a presidential decree read on national television by his advisor Fernando Delfim da Silva, Embalo appointed Rui Duarte de Barros as the new Prime Minister.

Rui Duarte de Barros is a member of parliament from the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which now leads an opposition coalition.

Before his appointment, he was serving as president of the administrative council of the National Assembly.

Rui de Barros served as Guinean prime minister during a transitional government between May 2012 and June 2014.

The reasons for firing Martins were not immediately clear. According to local reports, Martins told the president that he would not be ready to lead an executive over whom he had no control.

“The two disagreed when Geraldo Martins realized that President Embalo wanted to appoint government officials who would only be accountable to him and no one else,” Guinea News Agency reported.

The developments came days after Embalo on Dec.4 dissolved parliament following clashes between army factions in the capital Bissau on Dec.1 that the president described as a coup attempt.

Under the current political system, the government is appointed by the majority party or coalition, but the president retains the power to dismiss it under particular circumstances, which could lead to political paralysis.


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