Guinea Bissau premier forms new government

January 8, 2009 12:00 am

, BISSAU, Jan 8 – Guinea Bissau’s premier formed a new government made up of the dominant PAIGC party which swept November polls in the west African state, among the world’s five poorest nations, officials said Thursday.

Named by Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior late Wednesday, the new 31-member government includes 21 ministers, 10 secretaries of state — and 10 women, including the foreign and economy ministers.

All the members belong to the long-dominant African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), even though 59-year-old Gomes, who was named prime minister last month, had promised to open his government to the opposition.

The government takes office amid signs of potential unrest in the country, which has suffered political unrest and coups since its 1974 independence from Portugal.

Earlier this week, the head of Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces reportedly ordered the disarming of militiamen belonging to the presidential guard after claiming soldiers had tried to kill him.

And shortly after the November elections, a mystery attack by a group of soldiers on the office of President Joao Bernardo Vieira — possibly a mutiny or a coup bid — left two people dead.

In recent years Guinea-Bissau has become a hub for South American drug traffickers en route to Europe which experts say have further undermined the already weak state institutions.


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