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Guinea's President Fires Prime Minister


Guinea President Lansana Conte has dismissed his prime minister after canceling a government re-organization. These events closely follow Mr. Conte's return from a medical trip to Switzerland.

A presidential decree read on state radio said Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo had been fired for serious misconduct. It also announced a major government re-organization had been rescinded.

Late Tuesday, army soldiers stopped state radio from broadcasting the announcement of the new government line-up. The prime minister had given himself several key ministries and had also appointed close allies to other major posts.

He had been in government since the mid 1990s.

Local journalist Maseco Conde says he believes the army was acting under the orders of President Conte and not under its own initiative.

He says in the current context of Guinea's politics, it would not be possible for anyone to take such an initiative without the consent of President Conte.

But the journalist says even though Mr. Conte is still in control, this latest political fiasco shows he is losing his tight grip on power.

He says no one would have even considered trying such a bold political move before and that Conakry is tense again.

The capital has been the scene of recent riots over higher prices and crumbling infrastructure.

The chain-smoking, diabetic President Conte, who came to power in a coup in 1987, can barely walk. He recently returned from a medical trip to Switzerland, and lashed out against those who said he was dying.

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