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Saturday, 8 December, 2001, 16:27 GMT
Guinea-Bissau gets new PM
Map of Guinea Bissau
Guinea Bissau is going through a constitutional crisis
President Kumba Yala of Guinea-Bissau has given the job of prime minister to his interior minister Alamara Ntchia Nhasse, a day after sacking the previous incumbent, Faustino Imbali.

There's no doubt Faustino Imbali was a disappointment to us all

Sola Nkilim MP
An agronomist educated in the former Soviet Union and Cuba, Mr Nhasse served as agriculture minister in the previous administration and is a member of the political bureau of Mr Yala's Party for Social Renewal (PRS).

PRS parliamentary group leader Sola Nkilim said the appointment was welcomed with "rejoicing".

"There's no doubt Faustino Imbali was a disappointment to us all," he told the AFP news agency.

Mr Nhasse is the third prime minister to be appointed in the tiny West African state in less than two years.

Turbulent times

Mr Imbali's dismissal is the latest in a series of high-profile sackings - Mr Yala dismissed Foreign Minister Antoneta Rosa Gomes on 21 November and Interior Minister Artur Sanha in August.

In a statement confirming Mr Imbali's departure from the government, President Yala said he had failed in the job.

President Kumba Yala
President Yala has become an increasingly isolated figure
The BBC's Chris Simpson says the 45-year-old sociologist Mr Imbali had spent a torrid nine months in office.

His initial appointment was strongly attacked by the opposition on the grounds that he lacked political experience.

But the most damning criticism came finally from President Kumba Yala himself, who said he had shown a lack of transparency in his handling of affairs and had abused the confidence placed in him.

Opposition anger

Opposition critics say the changes show a lack of coherence and leadership from Mr Kumba Yala, who they believe is not fit to run Guinea-Bissau.

The opposition holds a majority in the country's parliament, and there have been frequent clashes between MPs and the government.

Earlier in the week, Mr Nhasse told parliament he had evidence to support a government claim that plotters had intended to overthrow the Yala administration in a coup.

He told MPs that the alleged coup plotters intended to kill some 30 top civilian and military figures including Mr Yala and the head of the armed forces.

Opposition parties have responded sceptically to the allegations, saying they are still awaiting concrete evidence from the authorities.

See also:

03 Dec 01 | Africa
Guinea Bissau 'coup' foiled
22 Nov 01 | Africa
Guinea Bissau's colourful leader
15 Nov 01 | Africa
Guinea Bissau arrests top judges
23 Oct 01 | Africa
UN urges caution in Guinea Bissau
04 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Guinea-Bissau
25 Jul 01 | Africa
Timeline: Guinea-Bissau
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