Guinea Bissau: President Umaro Embalo Dissolves Parliament After Coup Attempt

Guinea Bissau flag.
5 December 2023

Harare — A Monday proclamation signed by Guinea-Bissau's President Umaro Sissoco Embalo dissolved the country's parliament, citing the unsuccessful coup attempt on December 1, 2023. This move raises additional concerns about political stability in the country and the wider coup-hit West African region, RFI reports.

The presidential order alluded to the "seriousness" of a gunfight that began in the nation's capital, Bissau, between members of the Presidential Palace Battalion and the National Guard on Thursday, November 30 and ended on December 1, 2023. The battalion was attempting to re-arrest two ministers who had been freed from detention while being investigated for corruption.

After last week's "failed coup" in Sierra Leone, the Guinea-Bissau "failed coup" is the fourth successful or attempted military seizure of power in West and Central Africa in the past six months.

The dominant party in the Guinea-Bissau parliament appoints members of the Cabinet, constraining the president's authority under Guinea-Bissau's semi-presidential government. The National Guard, which reports to the Ministry of Interior, is therefore primarily under the authority of the opposition-dominated parliament.

The "failed coup" occurred while Embalo was attending the UN climate meeting in Dubai. On his return, Embalo fired National Guard Chief Victor Tchongo, claiming that other members of the guard had also asked for the ministers' release.

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