- São Tomé and Príncipe, whose government fell in a confidence vote on 20 May, is still struggling to put in place a new unity government. Joaquim Rafael Branco, who became designated new Prime Minister last week, has failed to get the main parties onboard a coalition.
Mr Branco is the leader of the Liberation Movement of São Tomé and Príncipe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP-PSD), which held power from independence in 1975 to 1991, when multi-party democracy was introduced. The MLSTP-PSD was the only main party not to participate in the pro-presidential government coalition that ruled the archipelago until 20 May, and is second largest is the São Tomé parliament.
President Fradique de Menezes, who originally had hoped to use the political crisis to convene anticipated elections, last week bowed into popular pressure and designated the opposition leader to head a new coalition government. MLSTP leader Branco since Thursday has tried to gather a new parliamentary majority to form a government.
Until now, Mr Branco has only won the support of the Party of Democratic Convergence (PCD) to enter into a coalition with his social democratic party. The main conservative party, the Democratic Force for Change (MDFM), and President Menezes' Independent Democratic Action (ADI) have so far ruled out participating in the unity government.
President Menezes this week told Mr Branco that the proposed coalition between MLSTP and PCD would be too small to assure a stable government. On Monday evening, he ordered the designated PM to restart negotiations with MDFM and ADI to enlarge the basis of government.
Mr Branco meanwhile says he will try to follow up on President Menezes' orders and has already reengaged the two parties in negotiations.
He however made it clear he would not enter into any kind of deal to become Prime Minister. "We will not be forming just another government," Mr Branco told the press in São Tomé, stressing the MLSTP had its own socio-economic vision for the development of the archipelago, for which it wanted to secure a parliamentary majority.
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