Guinea president decrees new government

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 21 Jan 2014

01/21/2014 02:13 GMT

CONAKRY, January 21, 2014 (AFP) - Guinea's President Alpha Conde late Monday issued a decree forming a new government keeping in place his prime minister and over half the cabinet members, but excluding any opposition figures.

Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana -- who was reinstated on Saturday despite resigning just three days earlier -- will continue to head the 34-minister government, the decree said.

Nineteen ministers will stay on, either in their previous portfolios or swapping to different ones, but another 15 have been booted out and replaced with new faces. The post of religious affairs minister was scrapped.

Neither was there any mention of a defence minister on the cabinet list. Those functions have been carried out since last 2010 by the president.

Foreign Minister Francois Lonseny Fall kept his portfolio in the new line-up which includes five women.

The decree comes in the wake of September 28 polls that gave Conde's Rally of the Guinean People (RGP) and its junior partners an absolute majority in the parliament, which began sitting last week.

The elections, while criticised by the opposition and international observers as flawed, were meant to be part of the west African nation's return to democracy following years of unrest.

Opposition spokesman Abubacar Sylla had already described the swift return to power of Fofana as a "non-event".

Fofana, who has held the premiership for the past three years, had been quoted last week in a presidential statement that he and his government were stepping down.

But Conde said in a decree broadcast Saturday on state television that Fofana would be reassuming his post, without giving any further details.

The election had been delayed numerous times since the country's first democratic poll in 2010, stoking deadly ethnic tensions that have dogged Guinean politics since independence.

Despite its great mineral wealth, more than half of Guineans have to get by on less than a euro (dollar) a day.

Conde has carried out numerous reforms, particularly in the important mining sector.

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