- Guinea-Bissau's Supreme Court of Justice will make a ruling by 19 December regarding the alleged unconstitutionality of the naming of Aristides Gomes as the country's Prime Minister. The opposition claims that only the Bissau parliament is legally entitled to name a Prime Minister, not the President.
The designation of Guinea-Bissau's current head of government was the result of a decree issued by President João Bernardo "Nino" Vieira on 2 November, five days after he dismissed the executive headed by former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr.
According to a source of the Portuguese news agency 'Lusa', the Presidency of the Republic has been notified of the terms of the impugnation presented by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) to the Supreme Court.
The PAIGC, as the party that won a majority of seats in parliament in Guinea-Bissau's last legislative elections in March 2004, alleges that it should have been asked to designate one of its leaders for the post of prime minister and considers President "Nini" Vieira's selection of Aristides Gomes as the country's new Prime Minister "illegal" and "unconstitutional".
The conflict between the President and the PAIGC is extra bitter because Mr Gomes in May was suspended from the party for openly supporting Mr Vieira's presidential bid against the PAIGC's official candidate, Malam Bacai Sanha. Mr Gomes does not have the confidence of the PAIGC, which now holds the parliamentary majority.
In November, prior to the swearing in of Guinea-Bissau's new government, a parliamentary majority had asked President "Nino" Vieira to reconsider his naming of Mr Gomes as the country's new Prime Minister in light of constitutional norms. The constitution provides for the majority party, meaning the PAIGC, to nominate the Prime Minister, according to the party.
The resolution, approved on 9 November by the Permanent Parliamentary Commission, considered that the naming of the new Prime Minister "was not approved" by the PAIGC as the majority party in parliament.
The parliament at that occasion also said that the country was "at a standstill" and in a "grave" situation, and called the President's decision to install Mr Gomes as PM a "flagrant violation of citizens' fundamental rights."
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