Guinea-Bissau president not allowed to take part in govt: ECOWAS

Guinea-Bissau’s President Jose Mario Vaz will remain in office until November elections but no longer take part in government affairs, the African 15-nation bloc ECOWAS said on Saturday.

Vaz, in power since 2014, earlier this month set the date for the next presidential election for November 24.

He also appointed a prime minister, ending a political deadlock in the tiny West African country that has dragged on since the firing of a former premier in 2015.

ECOWAS, which stands for the Economic Community of West African States, has acted as a mediator in the country’s political crisis. 

Vaz’s term in office expired on June 23 but parliament voted for him to remain “interim president”.

He will, however, not be involved in the workings of the country, according to a statement following an ECOWAS meeting in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

“The president will stay in office until the next presidential elections but will leave the whole management of government affairs to the newly formed government,” it said.

Sitting between Senegal and Guinea on Africa’s west coast, Guinea Bissau has struggled with volatility for years. 

It has seen multiple coup attempts since independence from Portugal in 1973.

ECOWAS was set up in 1975 and is today comprised of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo — representing a total population of around 385 million inhabitants.


© Agence France-Presse