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Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh’s poll rejection ‘null and avoid’ – AU

The African Union has described as “null and avoid” Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s rejection of the results of last week’s election.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh
The US and neighbouring Senegal also criticised the statement. Mr Jammeh had initially admitted defeat by his rival Adama Barrow.

Mr Jammeh cited “abnormalities” and called for fresh elections, saying he now rejected the results “totally”.

Mr Barrow accused the incumbent of damaging democracy.

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 Mr Barrow’s vote.

The error, which also added votes to the other candidates, did not change the outcome but narrowed Mr Barrow’s margin of victory from 9% to 4%.

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

BBC’s Thomas Fessy says the main question now is whether the Gambian leader has managed to split the army, retaining a faction ready to back his announcement.

AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Mr Jammeh’s latest statement was “null and void” because he had already conceded defeat in the election.

“The chairperson of the commission strongly urges President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power,” she said.

Senegal’s government called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Mr Ndiaye, speaking on national television, urged President Jammeh to respect the election result.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “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.”

The streets of the capital, Banjul, were reported to be calm on Friday night although soldiers were seen placing sandbags in strategic locations across the city, AFP news agency reports.

Mr Jammeh said “serious and unacceptable abnormalities” had been found in the electoral process and demanded “fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a God-fearing and independent electoral commission”.

Only last week, the president was shown on state TV calling Mr Barrow to wish him well.
“You are the elected president of The Gambia, and I wish you all the best. I have no ill will,” he said at the time.

According to the electoral commission, the revised results of the vote on 1 December was:
:: Mr Barrow won 222,708 votes (43.34%)
:: President Jammeh took 208,487 (39.6%)
:: A third-party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 (17.1%)

Mr 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, Mr Jammeh acquired a reputation as a ruthless leader.


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