Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS has outlined a 12-month transitional programme that will culminate in the election of a President for Guinea-Bissau, where soldiers last month truncated a process to elect a replacement for President Bacai Sanha who died in January.
At an emergency summit held in Dakar, Senegal, on Thursday, regional leaders said the country's constitution and electoral code would be reviewed during the transition, while the much-awaited reform of the defence and security sector will be carried out.
According to a communique issued after the summit, the second on Mali and Guinea Bissau in as many weeks, the leaders recommended that Guinea-Bissau's National Assembly should elect a new Speaker, who will assume the responsibility of Interim President.
Also, according to the communique, the Deputy Speaker will become the Speaker of the National Assembly, while a consensual Prime Minister shall be designated to lead a broad-based government during the transition.
''The Interim President and the transitional Prime Minister shall not be eligible to contest in the envisaged presidential election,'' the communique said, adding that the tenure of the country's MPs shall be extended to cover the transitional period.
The ECOWAS leaders also insisted on the planned deployment of troops to Guinea-Bissau to secure the withdrawal of the Angolan Technical Assistance Mission (MISSANG), ensure the security of the transition and help in the implementation of the Defence and Security Sector Reform.
The decisions taken at the summit reflect the 15-member regional bloc's rejection of the transitional arrangement put in place by the soldiers who struck on 12 April to stop the country's presidential runoff.
Talks aimed at restoring constitutional order in the country, anchored by the regional Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau which met at the ministerial level in Banjul, The Gambia last Sunday, failed, necessitating a tougher stance by the organization.
ECOWAS has already imposed diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions on Guinea-Bissau, and is currently compiling the list of Junta and other members to be slammed with targeted sanctions, including a travel ban and assets freeze.
PANA reports that 11 Presidents/Prime Minister attended Thursday's extraordinary summit.
They are Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Jose Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde (Prime Minister), Alassane Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire, Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia, John Atta-Mills of Ghana, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia,Dioncounda Traore of Mali, Mamadou Issofou of Niger, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Macky Sall of Senegal and Faure Gnassingbe of Togo.
-0- PANA SEG 4May2012