Guinea Bissau ruling party expels 15 members

Guinea Bissau ruling party expels 15 members

Guinea Bissau’s ruling party said it had expelled 15 members of parliament who blocked the prime minister’s legislative programme, saying they had put the country’s fragile democracy at risk.

Current prime minister Carlos Correia’s plans for spending on roads, electricity, health and education failed to go through when 15 members of his ruling PAIGC party abstained in the vote on Dec. 23.

The 15 dissenters said they did not approve of Correia’s government at the time of the vote.

If the parliament fails to approve Correia’s agenda the second time it is presented, the constitution requires that the government be dismissed.

The PAIGC party has accused the 15 members of treason, a party statement said on Thursday evening.

“There was a lack of respect for the voting instructions set by the political bureau of the party,” it said.

The party wants to appoint substitute deputies before parliament recommences on Monday, which would require approval from the supreme court.

The 15 deputies have since started a petition that demands the resignation of party president and former prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, their spokesman said.

The country has not had a democratically elected leader serve a full term since independence from Portugal in 1974, and has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since 1980.

The West African nation descended into political crisis in August when President Jose Mario Vaz dismissed a cabinet led by Pereira, his political rival. Guinea Bissau named three governments between August and October.