Sao Tomé & Principe
Sao Tome Parliament moves to dissolve itself

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afrol News, 6 November - The majority group in the Parliament of Sao Tome and Principe, the MLSTP/PSD, today asked for the demission of the Parliament on the very day it was first constituted. The party at the same time demanded the preparation of anticipated parliamentary elections. 

Guilherme Posser da Costa, Vice President of the MLSTP/PSD, said that the main reason behind this motion to dissolve Parliament was the big differences between the political parties that are represented in the Parliament. A political dialogue would not be possible.

The real reason behind the MLSTP/PSD decision is however believed to be that Posser da Costa is protesting against his dismissal as Prime Minister in September. President Menezes then appointed a new government coalition by the former opposition PCD and ADI. 

Reacting to Posser da Costa's motion, however, the leader of PCD party, Sebastião Santos, confirmed that his party was ruled by democratic principles, and as such would be open for political dialogue. 

Also Edgar Neves, leader of the Independent Democratic Action (ADI), is surprised by the MLSTP/PSD proposal. Though claiming to have no knowledge of the motion by the majority party, Neves confirmed his own party would stay loyal to decisions made by the President and the presidential government.

Anticipated legislative elections were in any way proposed to be held by February 2002. Sao Tome's foreign minister, Patrice Trovoada, in October had confirmed to news agencies that the newly elected President Fradique de Menezes was planning early elections.

- We must mobilise resources so that elections take place by February," AFP quoted Trovoada as saying. The announcement came five days after Prime Minister Evaristo de Carvalho formed a new government, which excluded members of the parliamentary majority, the MLSTP/PSD. The government, which was appointed by President Menezes, was made up of the two oppositional parties that had supported Menezes in his election campaign, PCD and ADI.

Also responding to the situation is Victor Monteiro, a presidential candidate in the July election. Monteiro protests against early legislative elections and announces the formation of a new political party, PUNI (Party of National Unity). 

Monteiro told the Sao Tomean daily "Téla Nón" that the decision to anticipate the elections was taken long ago. He was protesting, because any elections before August 2002 would prevent his new party from participating, because it would not find the time to prepare itself.

There, however, seems to be general agreement among Sao Tome's leading parties to anticipate the legislative elections. Majority party MLSTP/PSD is hoping to demonstrate the error of removing Posser da Costa from government if it is to gain majority again. ADI and PCD, on the other hand, are hoping to increase their representation trying to benefit from the high level of support shown for President Menezes at the July polls. Further, they can blame the early elections on the MLSTP/PSD.

Source: Based on press reports and afrol archives

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