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Guinea Bissau Junta Appoints President, PM - 2003-09-24

After some dispute, the ruling military junta in Guinea Bissau has appointed a president and prime minister who will lead the provisional government charged with restoring civilian rule.

It is Independence Day in Guinea Bissau and the occasion has been marked with the military junta's appointment of the country's interim leaders. Military chiefs accepted the unanimous choice of a civic panel and named Henrique Rosa, an economist, as president. His choice was met with widespread approval.

But the man who was picked as prime minister, a contested political party leader, Artur Sanha, was not greeted with the same enthusiasm. Fifteen political parties out of 17 consulted rejected the choice earlier this week. They protested that the leaders of the new transitional government should not be alligned with any of the country's political parties.

But the military junta has ignored their protests.

General Verissimo Correia Seabra ousted former President Kumba Yala in a bloodless coup earlier this month. Kumba Yala relinquished all claims to power after the coup was widely welcomed in the country, though it has been condemned internationally.

The junta leader has promised to hang to political power only as long as it takes to elect a legitimate civilian government.