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Losing Candidate in Guinea-Bissau Election Accepts Results


One of the losing candidates in Guinea-Bissau's recent election says he has agreed to accept the election results. Former President Kumba Yala still insists he won the vote, but says he is accepting the results in the interest of peace.

After talks in Dakar with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, former Guinea-Bissau president Kumba Yala said late Monday he accepts the results.

Mr. Yala says he won the election, but in the interest of democracy and peace he accepts the results. He said the future is more important than the present.

Election Commission results put Mr. Yala in third place behind Malam Bacai Sanha of the ruling party and former military ruler Joao Bernardo Vieira. No candidate won a majority, so Mr. Sanha and Mr. Vieira will face each other in a run-off election next month.

There were fears of violence after Mr. Yala said Sunday he would not accept the results. International observers considered the election free and fair. The former president has widespread support in the Guinea-Bissau military.

Senegalese journalist Alassane Samba Diop says Mr. Yala's acceptance is a victory for Senegal's mediation.

Mr. Diop says no one really knows what Senegalese President Wade said to Mr. Yala to persuade him to accept the results. Mr. Yala refused to take questions from the press, but appeared calm.

Friday, four people were killed when police opened fire to disperse a protest by Yala supporters in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau's capital.

After Mr. Yala was ousted in a bloodless coup in 2003, the military handed power to a transitional government. It is hoped this month's election will restore full democracy, following decades of political instability in Guinea-Bissau.