Adama Barrow was on Sunday declared the victor of The Gambia’s presidential election by the electoral commission, winning a second term in office in the tiny West African nation.ADVERTISINGnull
Commission chairman Alieu Momarr Njai declared Barrow the winner, announcing the final results to journalists hours after rival candidates had challenged partial results that gave him a commanding lead.
Saturday’s election, the first since former dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile, is seen as crucial for the young democracy.
Earlier Sunday, Ernest Bai Koroma, head of an election observation mission from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), appealed to all the candidates “to accept the outcome of the election in good faith.
“There will be no winner or loser but only one winner, The Gambian people,” he said in his statement.
Before the full results were announced, three of Barrow’s rival candidates had rejected partial results that gave the incumbent president an early lead.
“At this stage we reject the results announced so far” by the electoral commission, his main rival Ousainou Darboe and two other candidates said in a joint statement. “All actions are on table.”
Some of Barrow’s supporters, however, were already beginning to celebrate victory in the streets of the capital Banjul.
Barrow received a standing ovation when he addressed them with “a great sense of joy and humility” and told them to respect those who voted for his opponents in a “free, fair and transparent election”.
“I will do all I can and utilise every resource at my disposal to make The Gambia a better place for us all,” he said.
Before the full results were announced, three of Barrow’s rivals had rejected partial results.
“At this stage, we reject the results announced so far,” Darboe and two other candidates said in a joint statement earlier. “All actions are on table.”
The election was being closely watched as a test of the democratic transition in The Gambia, where Jammeh ruled for 22 years after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1994.
He was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 after Barrow, then a relative unknown, defeated him at the ballot box.
Jammeh lost to Barrow in the 2016 election but had to be removed by military intervention from other west African states.