Gambian Leader Rejects Election Results After Admitting Defeat

Incumbent Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh
Incumbent Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

Yahya Jammeh of Gambia has rejected the result of the presidential election held earlier this month, a week after conceding defeat.

The Gambian leader cited “abnormalities” in the vote and called for fresh elections.

Jammeh, who took power in a coup in 1994, was defeated by Adama Barrow, who won more than 43% of the vote.

Barrow accused the incumbent of damaging democracy by refusing to accept the result. His transition team said the president-elect was safe.

The results were revised by the country’s electoral commission on 5 December, when it emerged that the ballots for one area were added incorrectly, swelling Barrow’s vote.

The error, which also added votes to the other candidates, “has not changed the status quo” of the result, the commission said.

However, it narrowed Barrow’s margin of victory from 9% to 4%.

Jammeh said that he now rejected the results of the election “in totality”.

He said: “After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election,

“I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process,

“I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a God-fearing and independent electoral commission.”

The government in neighbouring Senegal condemned the move and called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye, speaking on national television, urged President Jammeh to respect the election result.

The US has “strongly condemned” Jammeh’s rejection of the result.

“This action is a reprehensible and unacceptable breach of faith with the people of The Gambia and an egregious attempt to undermine a credible election process and remain in power illegitimately,” a spokesman of the state department said

A spokesperson of Barrow’s said the head of the army,  Ousman Badjie, a general, supported the president-elect, having pledged his allegiance after the initial result.

The BBC’s West Africa correspondent, Thomas Fessy, said people have been celebrating the end of Jammeh’s 22-year rule for the past week, but now The Gambia’s future looks uncertain again.




     

     

    Barrow, a property developer, is due to take office in late January.

    The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, with a population of fewer than two million.

    In his 22 years in power, Jammeh acquired a reputation as a ruthless leader.

    Ahead of the election, Human Rights Watch accused him of using violence to silence critics. The group said two activists had died in custody and dozens of people had been jailed and denied medical or legal help.

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