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Government and prime minister of Equatorial Guinea resign

The announcement comes as the country is struggling to cope with an economic shock linked to the coronavirus and the drop in crude oil prices

The government and prime minister of Equatorial Guinea have tendered their resignation to President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

President Obiang accused the government of not doing enough to help the country at a time of crisis.

“The head of state regretted that the outgoing government did not fulfil its policy objectives, which undoubtedly led to this crisis situation,” a statement on the Equatoguinean government website said.

Equatorial Guinea is suffering a double economic shock linked to the coronavirus pandemic and a drop in the price of crude oil, which provides roughly three-quarters of state revenue.

Obiang, 78, has ruled the former Spanish colony since overthrowing his uncle in a 1979 coup, relying on repression of political opponents and the country’s offshore oil riches.

He dissolved the last government in February 2018 but then reappointed Francisco Asue as prime minister, who had served as premier since 2016.

A new government is expected to be announced soon, said Tutu Alicante, head of EG Justice, a US-based organisation working to promote human rights and the rule of law in Equatorial Guinea.

President’s health

Alicante said speculation about the state of Obiang’s health in recent weeks has raised expectations that the cabinet could be reshuffled to include those more supportive of Vice-President Teodorín Obiang Nguema Mangue, his son.

“They were going to move progressively towards having a government, a cabinet, that would not stand in the way of Teodorín fully assuming the governing roles,” he said.

Reporters could not reach the office of the president for comment.

Embezzlement

The president’s son was convicted of embezzlement in France in October 2017 during a trial in absentia. The court ordered the confiscation of assets worth more than €100 million.

Earlier, Swiss prosecutors had confiscated a collection of his supercars under a deal ending a money-laundering inquiry. The cars fetched nearly US$27 million at auction last September.

Equatorial Guinea’s economy has struggled to recover from a recession caused by a 2014 slump in oil prices and is expected to contract by a further 5.5% in 2020, according to International Monetary Fund figures.

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Source
Reuters
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