Party for Social Renewal


Party for Social Renewal

The Party for Social Renewal ( _pt. Partido para a Renovaçao Social; PRS) is a political party in Guinea-Bissau. It is one of the country's leading parties and is currently participating in a coalition government.

After the founding of political parties besides the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) became legal in 1991, Kumba Ialá, who had been expelled from the PAIGC, founded the PRS in January 1992. [ [http://www.afrol.com/articles/16350 "Guinea-Bissau's Kumba Yala: from crisis to crisis"] , Afrol.com, May 17, 2005.] Ialá ran in the 1994 presidential election and received 21,88% in the first round on July 3; [http://africanelections.tripod.com/gw.html Elections in Guinea-Bissau] , African Elections Database.] although the opposition united behind him in the second round,"Political Parties of the World" (6th edition, 2005), ed. Bogdan Szajkowski, page 271.] held on August 7, he lost to President João Bernardo Vieira, receiving 47,98%. The PRS won 10.3% of the vote [http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2133_94.htm IPU PARLINE page on 1994 election] .] and 12 out of 100 seats in the parliamentary election, also held on July 3.

After Vieira was deposed on May 7, 1999, the transition government under Malam Bacai Sanhá arranged new elections. Once again, Ialá ran for president. In the first round, held in November 1999, he received 38,81% of the votes; in the second round, in January 2000, he decisively defeated Sanhá with 72% of the ballots being cast in his favor. In the legislative elections, also held in November, the PRS won 38 out of 102 seats, becoming the largest party in the National People's Assembly. The PRS chose its third ranking leader, Caetano N'Tchama, as Prime Minister in January 2000. ["New Guinea-Bissau ruling party names prime minister", AFP (nl.newsbank.com), 24 January 2000.] Ialá resigned as President of the PRS in May 2000, although he continued to play an influential role in the party. Prime Minister Alamara Nhassé was elected as party leader in January 2002 at a PRS convention; following his dismissal as Prime Minister later in the year, he resigned as party leader and was replaced by Alberto Nan Beia.

The PRS's time in power was characterized by a poor economic situation and political instability. Ialá, alleged by critics to be erratic and to have autocratic tendencies, dissolved parliament in November 2002, but early elections intended to be held in February 2003 were delayed several times, until Ialá was ousted in a coup led by Veríssimo Correia Seabra on September 14, 2003. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=46145 "Army ousts president who kept delaying elections"] , IRIN, September 14, 2003.] Seabra's military government chose the PRS's general secretary, Artur Sanhá, to become Prime Minister of a transitional government, with Henrique Rosa as President; they were sworn in on September 28. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3147570.stm "Interim government takes over Bissau"] , BBC News, September 28, 2003.] Sanhá took office despite the opposition of 15 of the 17 involved political parties, which said that the prime minister should be an independent. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3129990.stm "New Bissau PM 'rejected'"] , BBC News, September 23, 2003.]

The 2004 legislative election was won by the PAIGC, which received 33,88% of the votes and 45 out of 100 seats; the PRS became the second strongest party in the parliament with 26,50% of the votes and 35 seats. The PRS agreed to support PAIGC in parliament in return for a number of important positions, although it did not get any ministers in the government. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=49802 "Elected parliament sworn in, new government to follow"] , IRIN, May 7, 2004.] Ialá was released from house arrest shortly before the legislative elections, [ [http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=48987 "Ousted president freed ahead of end-of-March polls"] , IRIN, March 9, 2004.] and in March 2005 he was nominated by the PRS as its candidate in the presidential election of that year. [ [http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=53611 "Main opposition party picks Kumba Yala as presidential candidate"] , IRIN, March 28, 2005.] He received 25% in the first electoral round and therefore could not participate in the run off, which was held between Malam Bacai Sanhá and João Bernardo Vieira. Ialá and his party protested against the outcome of the first round, claiming to have actually received the most votes, but Ialá later accepted the outcome (while still claiming to have received the most votes) and endorsed Vieira for the second round, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/africa/4628633.stm "Ex-Bissau leader accepts defeat"] , BBC.co.uk, June 27, 2005.] [ [http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=55242 "Kumba Yala to back Nino Vieira in second round of presidential election"] , IRIN, July 4, 2005.] while many of his fellow party members continued to challenge the result.

Because of a crisis in the PAIGC, which led to many representatives in parliament of this party to leave it, after Vieira's assumption of office on October 1, 2005, the PRS became the strongest party in the parliament once again.

On November 12, 2006, Ialá was elected head of the PRS again at the party's third congress, with about 70% of the vote; the previous leader, Nan Beia, received 20%. His victory was, however, disputed by his opponents within the party. [ [http://www.panapress.com/freenewspor.asp?code=fre010667&dte=23/11/2006 "Des militants contestent le congrès du PRS en Guinée-Bissau"] , Panapress, November 23, 2006 fr icon.]

In March 2007, the PRS formed a three-party alliance with the PAIGC and the United Social Democratic Party, and the three parties sought to form a new government. [ [http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=68&art_id=nw20070313231746241C654497 "Vieira rejects calls to dissolve government"] , AFP ("IOL"), March 14, 2007.] This led to a successful no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Aristides Gomes and his resignation late in the month; on 9 April, the choice of the three parties for the position of prime minister, Martinho Ndafa Kabi of PAIGC, was appointed prime minister by Vieira, [ [http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=86&art_id=nw20070410123233285C650762 "Guinea-Bissau appoints consensus premier"] , Reuters ("IOL"), April 10, 2007.] and on 17 April a new government was named, composed of ministers from the three parties. [Alberto Dabo, [http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=86&art_id=nw20070417215703375C150752 "Guinea-Bissau's new government named"] , Reuters ("IOL"), April 18, 2007.]

In May 2007, following an appeal for the annulment of the third ordinary congress by a faction of the PRS opposed to Ialá, the Regional Court of Bissau cancelled the congress' resolutions and removed Ialá from the party leadership. On August 23 2007, however, the Supreme Court of Guinea-Bissau reversed this decision and restored Ialá to the party leadership. [ [http://www.jeuneafrique.com/pays/guinee-bissau/article_depeche.asp?art_cle=PAN70027koumbelaico0 "Koumba Yala réhabilité leader du Parti de la rénovation sociale"] , Panapress (Jeuneafrique.com), August 23, 2007 fr icon.]

Members of the PRS were included in the government headed by Carlos Correia, which was appointed on August 9 2008. [http://apanews.net/apa.php?page=show_article_eng&id_article=72113 "Guinea-Bissau gets 21 new cabinet ministers"] , African Press Agency, August 10, 2008.] [http://www.panapress.com/freenewspor.asp?code=por016470&dte=09/08/2008 "Novo primeiro-ministro bissau-guineense forma Governo"] , Panapress, August 9, 2008.] This government was dominated by Vieira loyalists [http://ww1.rtp.pt/noticias/?article=358216&visual=26&tema=2 "Guine-Bissau: Novo PM divulga lista completa do seu Governo"] Lusa (rtp.pt), August 9, 2008 pt icon.] and members of PAIGC, but the PRS was given five posts in the government (out of 28).

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