The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has lauded the conduct of the Guinea Bissau presidential election.
This followed a three-day visit by Chambas to Guinea Bissau between Dec. 28 and Dec. 31.
He applauds the people of Guinea Bissau for the successful conduct of the polls and the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed throughout the electoral process.
The Special Representative commended the two candidates for their magnanimity and grace in accepting the results, and urges all party supporters to continue to show maturity and exercise restraint in the post-election period.
He said the Electoral Commission also conducted an exemplary process which marks an important step forward in Guinea Bissau’s democratic development.
Chambas reiterated the commitment of the UN to continue supporting the Government and the people of Guinea Bissau in their efforts towards consolidating peace and development.
Umaro Embalo, former Guinea Bissau Prime Minister, was elected president after winning a run-off vote against another ex-prime minister.
The 47-year-old beat rival Domingos Pereira by about 54 per cent to 46 per cent, the electoral commission announced.
Pereira vowed to contest the result, alleging “electoral fraud”.
Embalo said he wants to resolve political tensions in the West African country, which has seen nine coups or attempted coups since 1974.
Incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz crashed out of the election in the first round in November.
Vas was the first head of state to carry out his term without being either deposed or assassinated, but his tenure was marred by issues including political infighting and widespread allegations of corruption.
His campaign team accused rivals of electoral fraud, but West African regional bloc ECOWAS rejected the claims and warned that a military force was on standby to “re-establish order” in the event of a coup.
Election observers have also said they found no evidence of vote tampering in Sunday’s run-off, but Pereira – leader of the country’s historic ruling party PAIGC – said the results were “full of irregularities, annulment and manipulation”.
He has vowed to mount a challenge in the Supreme Court.