Sao Tome's ex-PM accuses president of "insulting" parliament

The former prime minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Guilherme Posser da Costa, has accused President Fradique de Menezes of jeopardizing democracy in the archipelago by "insulting" its parliament, according to reports reaching Luanda on Thursday.

Before his resignation as an MP on Tuesday to face questioning on his alleged assault of Sao Tome's attorney general last year, da Costa said Menezes had insulted parliament by referring to "delinquent, unpunished lawmakers who hide behind parliamentary immunity."

In a January speech, Menezes criticized a group of lawmakers allegedly involved in a case of embezzlement of foreign aid for abusing their immunity as MPs.

Da Costa, prime minister of Sao Tome from 1999 to 2001, stood down as an MP moments before being stripped of his parliamentary immunity to face questioning on his alleged attack on Attorney General Adelino Pereira.

The former prime minister, who is also implicated in the aid fraud scandal, sat as an MP for the ruling Sao Tome and Principe Movement for the Liberation (MLSTP) and is also its vice-president.

He accused Menezes, closely tied to the main Democratic Movement of Change Force (MDFM) opposition, of opening a "pre-campaign" for 2006 presidential elections by attacking possible rival candidates from the MLSTP.

The ruling party's former prime minister, Maria das Neves, was sacked by the president last year over her alleged involvement in the diversion of aid funds.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---