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Gambia’s Jammeh Concedes Defeat in Presidential Election Upset

Gambia’s president of more than 22 years conceded defeat Friday in the country’s presidential election, vowing to step down after results showed him with a surprising loss.

State media broadcast a phone call in which President Yahya Jammeh told opposition candidate Adama Barrow that he wanted to hand over power graciously and vowed not to contest the results.

Jammeh congratulated Barrow for his “clear victory” and praised the elections as “transparent” and “rig-proof.” He also said, “Allah is telling me my time is up,” and added he would move to his farm after leaving office in January.

Reporter Alpha Jallow told VOA that crowds of people gathered to dance in the streets of the Gambian capital, Banjul, Friday in celebration of Barrow’s victory.

Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission announced earlier Friday that Barrow won 263,000 votes, or 45 percent of the total, while Jammeh took 212,000 votes, about 36 percent. A third candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 17 percent.

Barrow, 51, represents a coalition of seven opposition parties that challenged Jammeh in Thursday’s election.

Jammeh, also 51, has ruled the tiny West African nation since taking power in a military coup in 1994. He won four subsequent elections that critics said were neither free nor fair and supported a 2002 constitutional amendment that removed presidential term limits. He once said he could rule Gambia for “a billion years.”




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