Candidate in chaotic Guinea-Bissau vote says inauguration set for Thursday

One of two candidates in Guinea-Bissau’s presidential elections said he would be sworn in on Thursday, even though a bitter row over the vote remains unresolved after nearly two months.

Umaro Sissoco Embalo made the announcement on social media on Wednesday, referring to a decision in his favour by the country’s electoral commission.

“In a spirit of unity and national harmony, I invite all my compatriots to my inauguration ceremony, which will take place tomorrow,” he said.

Embalo, a 47-year-old former general and prime minister, won 53.55% of the votes in the December 29 elections, according to the National Electoral Commission.

Domingos Simoes Pereira, from Guinea-Bissau’s traditional ruling party, the PAIGC, won 46.45% – a score that he has denounced as a fraud.

The Supreme Court, responding to a petition filed by the PAIGC, has issued rulings requiring a check of the vote tally sheets.

However, this has failed to resolve the dispute, and a row has brewed between the Supreme Court and the election panel.

On Tuesday, the election commission confirmed the results that it had announced, while the PAIGC stood by its objections.

A Guinea-Bissau lawyer, Armando Tchoba Dos Santos, told AFP that the Supreme Court was required to issue a new ruling in the affair within 48 hours.

Guinea-Bissau, a West African state that nurses a reputation for graft and as a transit point for cocaine smuggling, has had a long history of coups and instability since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974.

Embalo had said on Sunday, on his return from a foreign trip, that he expected to be inaugurated on Thursday and that it would be a low-key affair.

Guinea-Bissau “cannot afford the luxury of a sumptuous ceremony,” he said.

Candidate in chaotic Guinea-Bissau vote says inauguration set for Thursday