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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September, 2003, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
New Bissau PM 'rejected'
Coup leader General Verissimo Correia Seabra
General Seabra (right) says he will not stay in power
Political parties in Guinea Bissau have rejected the man chosen by military leaders to head a transitional government following the coup earlier this month.

Fifteen of the 17 parties consulted by the military rejected the former interior minister, Antonio Artur Sanha, saying it had previously been agreed that the new prime minister should not belong to a political party.

An adviser to General Verissimo Correia Seabra, who led the coup, had earlier warned all parties that the names of ministers agreed by the military amounted to a decision, not a proposal.

Only one of the parties rejected the military's choice as interim president, businessman Henrique Rosa.

The names were put before a meeting of the political parties, civic groups and others which the military has promised to consult as part of the transition process.

Support

Mr Rosa is a well-known personality in Guinea Bissau who is close to the leadership of the influential Roman Catholic Church.

He is likely to enjoy support from the military because the armed forces are dominated by members of his ethnic community.

Observers say a faction inside the military junta pressurised General Seabra to give up the idea of retaining the presidency by telling him that he could not be president and armed forces chief-of-staff at the same time.

The general reportedly decided to hold on to his military post after realising his position would be weakened if he became president.

The presidents of Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal held talks with the coup leaders on 19 September and urged them to set up a team of technocrats to serve as a non-partisan national unity government until new elections can be held.

President Obasanjo said Africa would not recognise a government made up of soldiers.




SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Guinea-Bissau coup
14 Sep 03  |  Africa
Guinea-Bissau 'back to normal'
15 Sep 03  |  Africa
Army chief takes over in Bissau
14 Sep 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Guinea-Bissau
04 Sep 01  |  Country profiles


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