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Guinea-Bissau President Replaces Newly Appointed Prime Minister Geraldo Martins

Guinea-Bissau President Replaces Prime Minister Just Days After Appointment

Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo has dismissed Prime Minister Geraldo Martins on Wednesday after only appointing him to the position on August 8th, 2023. He has been replaced by economist and seasoned politician Rui Duarte de Barros.

Geraldo Martins was reappointed as prime minister on Dec. 12 after initially assuming the same position in August of this year until the president dissolved the government earlier this month. The reasons for Martin’s dismissal are not immediately clear.

Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo speaks during a press conference at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, April 28, 2022. Credit: Phil Magakoe, AFP

In a presidential decree read on national television by advisor Fernando Delfim da Silva, Embalo appointed Rui Duarte de Barros, a member of parliament from the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which currently leads an opposition coalition. Before his recent appointment, Rui de Barros was serving as the president of the administrative council of the National Assembly and had previously served as Guinean prime minister during a transitional government between May 2012 and June 2014.

Reports suggest that Geraldo Martins and President Embalo disagreed when Martins realised that the president intended to appoint government officials accountable only to him and no one else. The development follows the president’s dissolution of parliament on December 4th after clashes between army factions in the capital Bissau on Dec. 1, which the president described as a coup attempt. The current political system allows the president to dismiss the government under specific circumstances, potentially leading to political paralysis.

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