- The two largest political parties in Guinea-Bissau are seeking to establish a "National Salvation Initiative" to prevent yet another period of political instability in the desperately poor country. No party currently holds a parliamentary majority and it remains unsure where the government shall seek support for budgets and legislation.
The ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) gave the green light yesterday to a group of members taking part in a self-styled "National Salvation Initiative" to begin conversations with the Social Renovation Party (PRS) in order to establish a pact of stability between the two political forces. The PRS is Guinea-Bissau's main opposition party.
The initiative is aimed at having PAIGC leader Carlos Gomes Jr negotiate with the leadership of the PRS so that the two parties may work together during the current and next legislature in order to overcome what have become frequent crises in Guinea-Bissau's political life.
An initial consequence of a potential understanding would be the approval of the 2006 State Budget, which will begin to be debated today in the National People's Assembly.
The current composition of the parliament was defined in the 2004 legislative elections, and the three largest parties in the body are the PAIGC, the PRS and the PUSD.
The PAIGC, despite having received more votes than any other party, ended up losing its parliamentary majority due to the defection of a number of its representatives, who aligned themselves with current Prime Minister Aristides Gomes.
Prime Minister Aristides Gomes controversially was named by President Nino Vieira following the dismissal of Carlos Gomes Jr from the post. Mr Gomes Jr had been elected into the post in the 2004 legislative elections but fell out with President Vieira.
Guinea-Bissau had been slipping from one political crisis to another since the late 1990s, including a brief civil war and two military coups. During the last presidential elections, the PAIGC and PRS stood strongly against each other, with the PRS backing ex-President Kumba Yala who had been toppled in a coup.
Since President Vieira's election and his controversial removal of Mr Gomes Jr, the political situation in Guinea-Bissau has been remarkably calm and several politicians have called for more stability to re-start the national economy. Guinea-Bissau is currently plagued with food shortages.
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