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Guinea Bissau: Parliament Dissolved by Decree

(Sept. 9, 2008) On August 5, 2008, Guinea-Bissau's President, Joao Bernardo Vieira, issued a presidential decree announcing the dissolution of the Parliament. The decree followed the withdrawal from the government of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. It was one of the three major political parties in the coalition government formed in 2007; the purpose of the coalition was to attempt to bring stability to the nation following years of internal strife, including a 1998 civil war, and coups in 1999 and 2003. Vieira described the decree as having been issued after a consensus decision.

Under the West African country's Constitution, once Parliament is dissolved, the government falls and the president is expected to appoint a caretaker government. Elections are to be held within 90 days. Elections had been scheduled for November 16, 2008, which is just beyond that time period. (Guinea-Bissau President Vieira Dissolves Parliament, Gives No Reasons, AFP (World Service), Aug. 5, 2008, Open Source Center No. AFP20080805532003; Further on President Vieira Dissolves Parliament, Gives No Reason, AFP (World Service), Aug. 5, 2008, Open Source Center No. AFP20080805532005; U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Guinea-Bissau, July 2008, available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5454.htm.)