Umaro Sissoco Embalo swore himself in as the new president of Guinea-Bissau on Thursday, defying a bitter ongoing row about the outcome of the December 29 elections, an AFP reporter saw.
“I swear on my honour to defend the constitution, to respect it and have it respected,” Embalo said before a crowd at an upscale hotel in the West African state’s capital, Bissau.
The ceremony took place despite a continuing legal and political battle over the official results. There was no authorization from the Supreme Court of Justice, and National People’s Assembly President Guinea-Bissau Cipriano Cassama was absent.
However, many opposition leaders who had supported Embalo in the second round of presidential elections, as well as outgoing President Jose Mario Vaz, assisted in the ceremony.
According to the results published by the country’s National Election Commission, Embalo as candidate of the Movement for Democratic Alternation obtained 53.55 percent of the votes during the presidential election runoff held on Dec. 29, 2019.
The Supreme Court of Justice issued rulings requiring a check of the vote tally sheets after the party of defeated candidate Domingos Simoes Pereira filed a lawsuit, but the dispute has not been resolved yet.