Guinea Bissau Parliament Passes Spending Plan, Saves Government

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Guinea Bissau's parliament approved the 2016 spending program Thursday, saving the government from dissolution and lending the fragile West African democracy some stability after a turbulent few weeks.

Prime Minister Carlos Correia's budget, which includes spending on roads, electricity, health and education, was passed with 59 votes in favor and none against. The vote was boycotted by the opposition PRS party, which opposed the plan.

"We deserve this victory, especially since it cost us sleepless nights," said Califa Seidi, parliamentary chief of the ruling PAIGC party. "Therefore no one has the right to question the fate of this country and its people."

The vote capped a turbulent month for Guinea Bissau in which 15 PAIGC members denounced the plan and joined the opposition, leaving the prime minister without the votes to pass it.

Those 15 members were expelled from parliament, however, and replaced Thursday before the vote. If parliament had failed for a second time to approve the plan, the constitution would have required the government's dismissal.

Democracy has been wobbly in Guinea Bissau, which has not seen a democratically elected leader serve a full term since independence from Portugal in 1974, and has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since 1980. Three different governments served between August and October.