- Title: Ex-Guinea Bissau PM Embalo wins presidency; opponent disputes vote
- Date: 1st January 2020
- Summary: EMBALO SUPPORTERS ON GREEN SQUARE CELEBRATING EMBALO VICTORY VARIOUS OF PEOPLE CELEBRATING TO MUSIC SUPPORTER WITH TRADEMARK EMBALO RED AND WHITE CHECKERED SCARF
- Embargoed: 15th January 2020 23:12
- Keywords: Election Madem G15 party candidate Umaro Sissoco Embalo PAIGC party candidate Domingos Simoes Pereira President
- Location: BISSAU, GUINEA BISSAU
- City: BISSAU, GUINEA BISSAU
- Country: Guinea-Bissau
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA002BUCDCG7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Former prime minister and ex-army general Umaro Sissoco Embalo has won Guinea-Bissau's presidential vote, the electoral commission said on Wednesday (January 1), but his opponent complained of fraud and vowed to contest the result in court.
Forty-seven year old Embalo won with 54% of Sunday's vote, the commission said, versus 46% for another ex-prime minister and ruling party candidate Domingos Simoes Pereira in the poll to succeed incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz.
Vaz's tenure was marred by political infighting, an ill-functioning parliament and corruption.
If Pereira's challenge fails, Embalo, who served as prime minister under Vaz from 2016-18, faces the difficult task of overcoming a long-running political impasse and modernising the West African nation of 1.6 million people.
"Guinea Bissau will stop being the country you have known. A Guinea Bissau where anyone does just anything. That is over. That is over, never again! Guinea Bissau will be a respected country. There will be respect for each citizen and no one will be excluded," Embalo told supporters late in the day, "I will make this country one in which every one will contribute, directly or indirectly, towards reconciliation and mutual confidence. Never again will this country be divided," he added.
Guinea Bissau has seen nine coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974.
Pereira's complaint looks set to extend the political chaos that has dogged the tiny ocean-side country in recent years and made voters weary of the political class.
The 56-year-old, who easily won a November first round, told supporters that in some polling stations votes surpassed the number of enrolled voters and he would file a complaint to the Supreme Court.
"The people of Guinea Bissau deserve to be told with certainty solid results which correspond to the will expressed at the ballot box," he said.
Embalo's candidacy gained support from the main contenders who failed to reach the run-off, including Vaz.
The announcement of his victory sparked celebrations in the capital Bissau, which has remained calm and optimistic during an election many hoped would draw a line under weeks of turmoil including violent protests, an alleged coup attempt and the emergence of two competing prime ministers.
The next president also faces widespread poverty and an unstable political system in which the majority party appoints the government but the president can dismiss it.
There have been seven prime ministers since Vaz took over in 2014 and instability has hurt the economy, which depends heavily on volatile prices for cashew nuts, the main income source for more than two thirds of households.
Traffickers also exploit Guinea-Bissau's unpoliced waters and maze of picturesque forested islands to ship South American cocaine destined for Europe.
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