FILE PHOTO: Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embalo addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
BISSAU (Reuters) – Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo has dismissed five government ministers, including the ministers of defence and the interior, according to a decree released on Sunday.
He did not state the reason for the dismissal of the ministers, who are all members of Embalo’s MADEM-15 party or parties loyal to the president.
The move heightens the political uncertainty in the tiny West African nation, where Embalo’s declared electoral win after a December vote has been contested by runner-up Domingos Simoes Pereira and his powerful PAIGC party.
“It is a strategy for Umaro Sissoco Embalo to gain the majority at the parliament,” pro-PAIGC website Ditadura de Consenso said in an online analysis following the release of the decree.
The ministers’ dismissal comes ahead of a parliamentary session on Monday, when lawmakers are expected to debate which political alliances have the right to govern the country.
The post-election turmoil has dashed hopes that the vote would end years of institutional chaos.
Former president Jose Mario Vaz cycled through seven prime ministers in five years amid a dispute with the PAIGC, which controlled the most seats in parliament.