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ECOWAS Welcomes Guinea Bissau’s President into the Fold

A regional bloc of West African countries has recognised Umaro Sissoco Embalo as the winner of Guinea-Bissau’s presidential election, after months of dispute over the results. The country’s electoral authority has repeatedly said Embalo, a former army general and prime minister, won a runoff presidential vote on December 29. But losing candidate Domingos Simoes Pereira, from the long-ruling PAIGC party, called the election fraudulent and took the case to the Supreme Court, which has not yet ruled. On Thursday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc said in a statement that they recognised Embalo as president but also called for constitutional reform to be put to a referendum within six months. Embalo had declared himself president in February without waiting for the court, creating a political impasse. At the time, ECOWAS said his inauguration had taken place “outside legal and constitutional frameworks”.