President Manuel Pinto da Costa of Sao Tome and Principe dissolved the government of Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada, according to a decree read on state television.
The broadcast didn’t say whether Trovoada and his government will be replaced via an election or whether his party will be asked to form another government.
“The government continues in office until the appointment and swearing in of the new prime minister of the new constitutional government,” Amaro Couto, an official with the presidency, said during the broadcast.
The minority ruling party on Nov. 29 urged street demonstrations against Trovoada’s Independent Democratic Action government, which was censured by opposition lawmakers from three groups a day earlier over budget plans. The opposition groups in their censure motion said that living conditions are worsening, with citizens “plunging into poverty, hunger and misery.”
The cocoa-exporting archipelago, which has a $244 million economy, was uninhabited until Portugal claimed it in the 15th century and later imported African slaves for labor, according to the CIA World Factbook. It ranks 144th out of 187 nations on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index.
Its dobra currency has been pegged at 24,500 a euro since 2009, after it signed an agreement with Portugal. It traded at 18,735 a dollar by 2:21 p.m. in Sao Tome, the capital.
Sao Tome and Principe is Africa’s second-smallest country by population after Seychelles, with about 169,000 people. It’s located about 308 miles (496 kilometers) south of Nigeria’s coast in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf of Guinea, where the two countries have a joint oil and gas exploration agreement.
Pinto da Costa became leader after the archipelago gained independence from Portugal in 1975. He established a one-party state and led until 1991, after the country legalized opposition parties and held free elections. He returned in September 2011, after winning a presidential runoff.