Photo: Wiki Commons. The Parliament Building in Georgetown, Guyana.
Photo: Guyana government press office. Head of state Irfaan Ali (right) sworn in in masked ceremony.

Five months after a general election, the opposition candidate Irfaan Ali has been sworn in as Guyana’s president reports the Guyana Department of Public Information.

Following allegations of vote tampering, a recount and a lengthy legal battle, the election commission declared Mr Ali the winner on Sunday and he was sworn in hours later.

His rival, outgoing president David Granger, said he would take his allegations of fraud to the high court.

The election was the first to be held after the US oil giant Exxon made one of the world’s biggest discoveries of oil in deep waters off Guyana’s coast.

The discovery could put Guyana among the world’s top oil producers and is expected to massively boost its economy.

But the potential oil bonanza also raised the stakes of the country’s ethnically divided politics, between Indo-Guyanese, who mostly supporting the PPP, and Afro-Guyanese, who largely vote for Granger’s APNU-AFC coalition.

“There is only one future, and that future requires a united Guyana,” Ali said. “That future requires every Guyanese to play a part in building our country.”

In his remarks, the new Head of State assured that he will uphold the oath taken and will work for the best interest of the people of Guyana.

“There is only one future and that requires a united, strong Guyana. That future requires every Guyanese to play a part in building our country and ensuring we leave a better Guyana for the net generation.”

He continued “We are in this together. We are not separated by class, by ethnicity, religion or political persuasion. We are united in the true Guyanese spirit.”

Meanwhile defeated former president David Granger has not accepted electoral defeat and said: “The APNU+AFC Coalition cannot endorse a flawed Report and will continue its campaign to ensure that the votes of all Guyanese are accurately recorded, tallied and reported.”

However Granger asked his supporters for restraint in the face of perceived injustice. “The Coalition asks its members to continue to conduct themselves in a lawful and peaceful manner,” he said.