Gambian President Yahya Jammeh concedes electoral defeat

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Yayha Jammeh
Image: IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh yesterday conceded defeat to now-President Elect Adama Barrow.

Jammeh, 51, took 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 263,515 votes, equating to 45.5%, while Jammeh won 36.7%, 212,099 votes. A third candidate accounted for 17.8%.

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."

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.


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