Monday 23 May 2022
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Gambian President Yahya Jammeh concedes defeat

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Banjul: Gambian President Yahya Jammeh yesterday conceded defeat to now-President-Elect Adama Barrow. He reluctantly offered his concession on Friday, eventually admitting poll defeat.

Jammeh, 51, had taken power 22 years ago in a bloodless coup. He had claimed a billion-year mandate. Barrow, 51, is a property developer without political experience. According to the electoral commission yesterday, he won 2,63,515 votes, equating to 45.5%, while Jammeh won 36.7%, 2,12,099 votes. A third candidate accounted for 17.8%.

Yahya Jammeh [Image: IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin]
Jammeh is the nation’s second president since independence in 1965. In a public broadcast, he hailed “the most transparent election in the whole world,” and congratulated Barrow on “a clear victory[…] You Gambians have decided.”

Jammeh’s acceptance of defeat came as a surprise to the people of the as well as rights group that have so far accused him of crushing all opponents by imprisoning or torturing them.

Born in Basse in 1965, Barrow spent several years working as a security guard in London. He returned home in 2006 and began property development, which he still does. He expressed disappointment he did not win by a larger margin.

Barrow represents a coalition of parties in an unprecedented co-operation. He said his first priority is to pick his cabinet, and has proposed a presidential two-term limit and promised financial stimulation. “It’s the people who have spoken. He cannot hang on,” he said. “We won the election clearly so there’s nothing he can do about it.”

Jammeh refused international observations of the election, banned protests following the result, and switched off the nation’s Internet access on the day of the vote. He pledged to work with Barrow and hand over power in January.

Reuters quoted Karamba Touray, a spokesman for Barrow’s coalition party, as saying that he would “stop plans to leave the ICC (International Criminal Court) and ask to rejoin the Commonwealth immediately”. Jammeh had announced withdrawing from the ICC in November.

From Wikinews under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence and agencies

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