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Guinea-Bissau president nominates new government
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09:24, January 09, 2009

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Guinea-Bissau President Joao BernardoVieira has nominated a 33-member new government, according to the latest information from Bissau, the capital of the tiny West African nation.

The long-awaited government nominated late Wednesday includes 21 ministers and 11 secretaries of state headed by Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who already assumed the post on Jan. 2 after his African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) won the Nov. 16 legislative election.

The vote is internationally seen as a success, in which about 20 parties contended for the 100 seats in the National Assembly. The PAIGC won 67 seats, followed by the Party of Social Renovation which garnered 28 seats.

The official announcement of the new government will be made soon, the prime minister said. "A new governmental team will be known in several hours if all pass well," he said.

The new foreign minister will be Adiato Nandigna, the former culture minister, while Artur Silva, the former secretary of statein charge of international cooperation, will be named the defense minister.

The portfolio of the finance minister will go to Mario Vaz, the former mayor of Bissau. Former defense minister Lucio Soares will become the interior minister.

Public servants have been awaiting the formation of the new government for weeks in hope for the payment of arrears, since theNov. 23 coup attempt delayed the process, local citizens told Xinhua.

Guinea-Bissau became independent from Portugal in 1974, but the country of 1.5 million population has witnessed a series of military coups and a civil war between 1998 and 1999. In a latest sign of instability, army chief of staff Batista Tagme Na Wai held Interior Minister Cipriano Cassama responsible for a shooting incident, which he described as an assassination attempt.

A spokesman for the presidential guard said the shooting was in fact an accident.


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