Bissau – The top court in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau has ordered the closure of 28 minor political parties on the grounds that they failed to prove that they existed.
In a media statement on Monday, the Supreme Court said it had given the order to weed out tiny parties – estimated to be in the dozens – that had led to splintered and factional politics.
It said it had given parties until the end of October to provide evidence that they really existed, comprising proof of their address, receipt of registration and an organisational chart of their leadership.
Twenty-eight parties failed to cross this threshold and have been wound up but other parties, including the main political groups, are not affected.
Guinea-Bissau has suffered four military coups since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974, as well as attempted coups, the most recent of which was in February.
The country is in the grip of a tug-of-war between President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, the parliament and political parties.
The president dissolved parliament in May and announced elections for December 18, but whether the ballot will go ahead is unclear.
Leaders of the newly suppressed minor parties met on Tuesday and promised to launch a protest campaign.
But they seem to have limited traction, with only one figure, Idrissa Djalo, head of the National Unity Party, having a nationwide audience.
In a press conference, Djalo said his party had “met the required conditions” set by the Supreme Court, and accused Embalo of trying to eliminate rivals.
Political analyst Humberto Monteiro said Guinea-Bissau’s politics was cluttered by “too many parties,” which contributed to instability.
“Some don’t even have a headquarters and have never been able to get a single parliamentary seat. The measure will help to clear up the political landscape,” he told AFP.