Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has declared Gambian President Adama Barrow winner in Saturday’s presidential election after defeating five other candidates.
The electoral commission said on Sunday, Barrow won with a clear margin, although opposition candidates who rejected the results may challenge the outcome in court. Barrow secured around 53% of Saturday’s vote, defeating his nearest rival, political veteran Ousainou Darboe, who won about 28%.
Observers note that Saturday’s peaceful election was a victory for democracy especially in troubling times.
Hundreds of people hit the streets of Banjul on Sunday night to celebrate, driving around, chanting and honking horns. Others gathered around the presidential palace to listen to Barrow speak.
Barrow told the cheering crowd after the results were announced.”Democracy has taken its course…I have been the lucky person to be chosen by you. I’ll use all the resources to make Gambia a better place for all.”
Barrow’s emergence provided a welcome alternative for many to Yahya Jammeh’s authoritarian tenure, development was hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic, which damaged an economy heavily reliant on tourism, exports of peanuts and fishing.
In the run-up to the election, Jammeh had tried to persuade supporters to vote for an opposition coalition through recorded speeches that were relayed to campaign rallies. But he couldn’t sway Barrow’s supporters.
As results streamed in on Sunday, representatives from all opposition parties signed off on nearly all the tally sheets read to the election commission.Later in the day, Darboe and two other candidates, Mama Kandeh and Essa Mbye Faal, said they would not accept the results because the results took longer than expected and other related issues at polling stations.
They did not provide specifics or evidence of wrongdoing.”We are concerned that there had been an inordinate delay in the announcement of results,” their statement said. “A number of issues have been raised by our party agents and representatives at the polling stations.”
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