Guinea-Bissau president dissolves parliament

Tension between parliament and the presidency has gripped the West African state for months.

FILE: Guinea-Bissau's President Umaro Sissoco Embalo. Picture: Picture: Ludovic MARIN/AFP.

BISSAU - President Umaro Sissoco Embalo on Monday dissolved Guinea-Bissau’s parliament and said early parliamentary elections would be held by year's end to resolve a long-running political crisis.

Tension between parliament and the presidency has gripped the West African state for months.

Embalo cited "persistent and unresolvable differences" with parliament.

"This political crisis has exhausted the capital of trust between the sovereign institutions," he said.

"After listening to the speaker of the National People's Assembly (parliament), the political parties represented in parliament and the State Council, I have taken the decision to dissolve the National People's Assembly... and bring forward the holding of legislative elections."

"I have decided to give the floor back to Guineans so that this year they can freely choose the parliament they wish to have," he said.

The former Portuguese colony of around two million people is notoriously unstable and has suffered four military coups since 1974, most recently in 2012.

Eleven people died in February in violence that was described as an attempted coup.