Guinea-Bissau Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Presidential Election Result

Sissoco Embalo

BISSAU – Guinea-Bissau’s Supreme Court on Sunday rejected a challenge against Umaro Cissoko Embalo’s victory in last month’s election run-off by the defeated candidate, who complained of fraud.

The ruling confirms a surprise election win for Embalo, a 47-year-old former prime minister and ex-army general. He will replace outgoing Jose Mario Vaz, who was eliminated in the first round of voting in November after a five-year term marked by political dysfunction and corruption allegations.

The court’s ruling said runner-up Domingos Simoes Pereira, the candidate of the majority party in parliament, should have first filed his complaint with the national electoral commission, which declared Embalo the winner with 53% of votes.

Pereira said the Dec. 29 election was marred by fraud, alleging that votes surpassed the number of enrolled voters at some polling places.

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The electoral commission denied this, and African observers praised the election.

Vaz is the first Guinea-Bissau president to have completed a full term since independence from Portugal in 1974. In that time, the country has seen nine coups or attempted coups.

(Reporting by Alberto Dabo; Writing by Aaron Ross, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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