Equatorial Guinea government resigns

May 19, 2012 7:56 am

, MALABO, May 18 – The government of Equatorial Guinea’s Prime Minister Ignacio Milam Tang resigned in line with a constitutional reform approved in November, the country’s communications minister said on Friday.

“The government will present its letter of resignation to Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo today (Friday) so he can form a new government according to the law,” said Communications Minister Jeronimo Osa Osa Ecoro.

The constitutional reform approved in a referendum by 97.7 percent of voters — a figure which has been contested by the opposition — limits the number of presidential mandates to two, and created the post of vice president.

Obiang, who heads sub-Saharan’s Africa’s third largest oil producer, became the continent’s longest serving leader after the death of Muammer Gaddafi in Libya in October.

Equatorial Guinea is regularly tagged as one of Africa’s most corrupt and authoritarian states, and critics say the constitutional reform project was part of a charm offensive to improve the Obiang regime’s image abroad.

The new constitution does not make clear whether Obiang could stay in power until 2030, or if he would have to resign when his current term ends in 2016.

Obiang, who will be 70 next month, is serving his fourth seven-year term since he seized power in a 1979 coup, unseating his notoriously ruthless uncle Francisco Macias Nguema who was executed by firing squad.

He has never scored less than 95 percent in an election since he introduced multi-partyism in 1991.


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