Guinea-Bissau's New Cabinet Set up for Early Elections

Guinea-Bissau President Kumba Yallaunveiled his new cabinet on Monday, a mixture of reshuffled ministers and new blood, to prepare the country for early elections.

According to the Portuguese news agency LUSA, following Friday's dissolving of parliament and Sunday's replacement of Nhasse withMario Pires as government chief, Yalla announced that foreign minister Filomena Tipote takes on the portfolio of public administration and labor.

Tipote is replaced by Joaozinho Vieira Co, who had recently been picked as Bissau's new ambassador to Lisbon.

Bissau's new defense minister is Zamora Induta, who was spokesman for the military junta during Guinea Bissau's 11-month civil war that ended in May 1999.

Ten ministers who served under former prime minister Nhasse, including Finance Minister Rui Barros and Internal Administration Minister Antonio Sedja Man, retain their posts.

Meanwhile, police sealed all government ministries in Bissau over the weekend and said they had orders only to allow sacked ministers and state secretaries to enter and leave "empty handed".

While the capital of the west African country of 1.3 million appeared calm following Yalla's dissolution of parliament Friday, beefed up military patrols were seen in the city during the weekend.

After being sworn in, Pires, 53, and a member of the ruling Social Renovation Party (PRS), told reporters his mandate was "to serve the people under the orientation" of the president.

Analysts said his main task would likely be the search for foreign financing for the early elections in the technically bankrupt country.

In dissolving the opposition-controlled parliament Friday, Yalla said a return to the polls would take place within 90 days, as constitutionally required.

The current political crisis, analysts said, appeared rooted inthe parliament's having twice approved constitutional amendments that, in part, reduced presidential powers.

Yalla never signed the constitutional revisions, which were voted more than one year ago and had been backed by the PRS, the party founded by the president in 1992.

People's Daily Online ---