BISSAU AUGUST 14, 2015 (CISA) – Guinea Bissau’s President Jose Mario Vaz has dismissed the government of the West African nation due to a power struggle with the prime minister.
Tensions caused by overlapping duties in Guinea Bissau’s semi-presidential system have grown between the president and Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira since elections restored civilian rule last year following a 2012 coup, Reuters reported.
While announcing his decision to dismiss Pereira and his cabinet with immediate effect, President Vaz referred to what he called “a breach of trust” between the two men in a presidential statement issued August 12.
According to Lori-Ann Theroux-Benoni, director of the Institute of Security Studies’ West Africa office, the row between Vaz and Pereira was just the latest tug-of-war linked to the lack of clarity in the division of power.
“It’s clearly a power struggle, and unfortunately power struggles in Guinea Bissau have not ended well in the past. It may be time to look at constitutional reform,” she said.
Guinea Bissau has undergone nine coups or attempted coups since 1980. In recent years, it has emerged as a major transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America to Europe, a trade in which U.S. authorities say senior military officials play a pivotal role.
The government plans to retire nearly half the army’s 5,000 soldiers, including former coup leaders, over the next five years as part of military reforms.