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Guinea Bissau junta leaders set out transition period

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-18

Guinea-Bissau's new military rulers and opposition parties agreed to a two-year transitional period before presidential and legislative elections, excluding the former president and confirming the dissolution of pre-coup institutions.

AFP - Guinea-Bissau's junta on Wednesday drew up an agreement with the main opposition parties to have a two year transition period before presidential and legislative elections are held.

The accord, presented to the press, confirms the dissolution of institutions overthrown in a coup on April 12 and the creation of a National Transition Council which will name an interim president and government.

A source at the hours-long meeting to draw up the agreement said soldiers would return to the barracks "once the new president is inaugurated."

"The national assembly is dissolved, the president and government are relieved of their duties," the source said on condition of anonymity, adding that "the hierarchical structure of the army is maintained."

Soldiers ousted the government on April 12, aborting an electoral process which was meant to conclude on April 29 in a run-off election, and arresting top government officials.

These include former prime minister Carlos Gomes who was the leading candidate, and interim president Raimundo Pereira who took over after the death of president Malam Bacai Sanha in January after a long illness.

The west African nation has been chronically unstable since independence with the army and state in constant, often deadly competition.

Guinea Bissau has never had an elected president finish his term in office.

Three have been overthrown, one was assassinated in office by the army, and Sanha died in his first term.

The dysfunctional state has provided fertile ground for Latin American drug lords looking for a hub to ship their cocaine to Europe.

Date created : 2012-04-18

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