Guinea-Bissau Assembly Votes to Remove President Jose Mario Vaz

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(Bloomberg) -- Guinea-Bissau’s national assembly approved a resolution to remove President Jose Mario Vaz from office and replace him with the head of the legislature, escalating a political feud that’s paralyzed the impoverished West African nation.

A majority of 54 out of 102 lawmakers on Thursday voted for Cipriano Cassama to be named as interim president, according to Suzi Barbosa, a lawmaker of the country’s biggest party, known by its acronym PAIGC. Vaz, whose five-year term ended June 23, has decreed that presidential elections to be held on Nov. 24.

Guinea-Bissau Assembly Votes to Remove President Jose Mario Vaz

“We hope that he understands that he no longer has the same constitutional powers,” Barbosa said in a text message.

Vaz’s office didn’t have an immediate response to the vote, spokeswoman Pamela Ferreira said. Vaz is traveling to Nigeria to attend a regional summit, she said.

While Vaz is Guinea-Bissau’s first president to complete his term since the introduction of multi-party elections in 1994, he’s been locked in a power struggle with his party for years, mainly over the management of foreign aid that was meant to stabilize the country. The country of less than two million people mainly produces cashew nuts.

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