GBissau parliament meets for the first time in two years

Guinea Bissau is one of Africa's poorest and most unstable countries.  By Xaume Olleros (AFP/File)

Guinea Bissau is one of Africa’s poorest and most unstable countries. By Xaume Olleros (AFP/File)

Guinea Bissau’s parliament met Thursday for the first time in nearly two years after the appointment of a consensus prime minister to end a dragging political crisis.

The tiny West African former Portuguese colony has been in the grip of a power struggle since August 2015, when President Jose Mario Vaz sacked his then prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira.

Vaz has since nominated several prime ministers but he has failed to gain the support of political parties. But this week he appointed Aristide Gomes as premier, whom he described as a “consensus” candidate.

Gomes is supposed to lead the country until legislative elections in November.

The special session of parliament is due to debate, among other things, the extension of its own mandate — which expires on April 23 — until the election.

The parliamentary session began AMID tight security and WITH an impassioned call for a return to normalcy in a country which has also been wracked by coups.

“We must now bury the hatchet and turn towards the future. We must work for the well-being of our people who have suffered. We must turn towards the future. Enough is enough!” said parliament speaker Cipriano Cassama, before the special parliament session began.

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday asked the government to quickly form an inclusive government and reopen parliament in line with an October deal brokered by the ECOWAS West African regional bloc.

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