Guinea-Bissau president dissolves parliament, alleges corruption
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Guinea-Bissau president dissolves parliament, alleges corruption

Guinea-Bissau’s president, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Monday dissolved the country’s parliament, the National Popular Assembly. In a video Embalo released after the decision, he accused the Assembly of covering up members’ corruption as well as embezzling government funds. He also cited “persistent and insurmountable differences” between the executive branch and parliament, stymying progress in the country.

Embalo made the declaration using his powers under Article 69 of the Guinea-Bissau constitution. Article 69, section 1(a) states, “[t]he President of the Republic is also competent to…[d]issolve the National Popular Assembly, in case of grave political crisis, after consulting the President of the National Popular Assembly and the political parties present therein, and within the limits established by this Constitution…” Any constitutional challenges to the move will be reviewed by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the highest court in Guinea-Bissau.

Embalo also exercised his powers under Article 68, section g, which allows the president to remove the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Embalo announced his intent to remove both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister after new elections are held to replace the Assembly. Article 68, section f, allows Embalo to set the date of the new election, which he has announced as December 18, 2022.

Guinea-Bissau has experienced political upheaval since it gained independence from Portugal in 1974. There have been military and political coups in 1980, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2012, with many more failed attempts. In February, an unidentified group attempted to assassinate Embalo. Embalo quickly regained control, announcing, “[c]alm returns to Bissau!”