Politics

Adama Barrow wins Gambia presidential election.

barrow

Adama Barrow won 263,515 votes (45.5%) in Thursday’s election, while President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7%), according to the electoral commission. A third party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 102,969 (17.8%).

Votes Turnout was about 65 percent.

Jammeh, who once said he would govern for thousand years if God willed it, was attempting to win a fifth term with his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).

Gambian state television said that Jammeh would make a speech later in the day to congratulate opposition leader Barrow, 51.

Born in 1965 in a small village near the eastern market town of Basse, Mr Barrow moved to London in the 2000s where he reportedly used to work as a security guard at an Argos catalogue store, while studying for real estate qualifications.

He returned to The Gambia in 2006 to set up his own property company, which he still runs today.

A previously unknown estate agent and former economic migrant to Britain, Barrow was chosen as the opposition flag bearer by a group of political parties who had joined forces for the first time, whipping up extraordinary popular support. Eight opposition parties united behind Barrow and the election campaign period featured large opposition rallies and unprecedented expressions of frustration with Jammeh’s rule.

Adama Barrow stated before the vote was announced that he was “certain” he had won.

The Gambia is a tiny former British colony that occupies a narrow sliver of land surrounded by French-speaking Senegal and original Atlantic ocean beaches beloved by tourists. It is the smallest country in west Africa.

Thursday’s election was marked by an internet blackout that resulted into condemnation from rights groups and the United States. On voting day the internet and international phone calls were banned across the country.

But early results on Friday were positive for Barrow as he took the capital Banjul — a traditional Jammeh stronghold.

He won nearly 50 percent of the vote in Banjul’s three constituencies, according to the IEC, compared to 43 percent for Jammeh.

On the electoral campaign, Mr Barrow – who has never held public office – promised to revive the country’s economy, which has forced thousands of Gambians to make the perilous journey to Europe.

He has criticised the lack of a two-term limit on the presidency and says he would introduce a three-year transitional government made up from members of the opposition coalition.

“Power belongs to the people. You cannot stop us and you cannot stop them,” Barrow said at his final rally this week.

At his final campaign rally, Jammeh had warned that protests over the election result would not be tolerated, saying The Gambia “does not allow” demonstrations.

No professional international observers were on the ground for the vote, diplomats confirmed, but a small team of African Union experts monitored events along with Banjul-based US and European delegations already present in the country.

Jammeh seized power in a 1994 coup and had until now survived multiple attempts to remove him from the presidency.

almost 60 percent of the population live in poverty in The Gambia, and a third survive on $1.25 (1.20 euro) or less a day, according to the UN.

Adama Barrow’s victory during presidential election will bring to an end Jammeh’s 22-year rule which began with a coup.

 

    Mamadou Dian Donghol Diallo

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