UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday asked political players in Guinea-Bissau to accept the results of last year’s presidential election and work to form a new government, said his spokesman.

Guterres took note of Thursday’s decision by the heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to recognize Umaro Sissoco Embalo as the winner of the presidential election in Guinea-Bissau, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.

Guterres encouraged all Bissau-Guinean actors to work inclusively and constructively to implement relevant ECOWAS decisions, particularly regarding the appointment of a prime minister and the formation of a new government, in full compliance with the constitution, and taking into account the results of the March 2019 legislative elections, said the statement. Guterres reiterated the UN’s commitment to continue to accompany Bissau-Guineans in their efforts to consolidate peace, democracy and sustainable development, it said.

Embalo finished second in the first round of voting on Nov. 24. He won 54 percent of the vote in the second round run-off on Dec. 29 against Domingos Simoes Pereira, who led in the first round. Pereira refused to concede and challenged the outcome. Embalo swore him in as president in February 2020 without clearance from either the Supreme Court or Parliament.

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