Adama Barrow Wins Gambia Presidential Election

Gambian President Adama Barrow secured a second term as leader of the West African nation in the biggest test of its democracy since dictator Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule ended.

Barrow, 56, garnered 53.2% — or 457,519 of the votes, while his nearest rival – Ousainou Darboe obtained 27.7%, Alieu Momarr Njai, chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission said late on Sunday, declaring Barrow as the winner.

It’s the first election in 27 years not to include Jammeh, who remains in exile since being defeated by Barrow in a 2016 vote.

Jammeh’s despotic 22-year rule over the small West African nation of 2.5 million people, which began with a 1994 coup, was characterised by killings and torture of political opponents.

Saturday’s peaceful election was seen by many as a victory for democracy that helped draw a line under that troublesome period.

Once cowed by Jammeh’s omnipresent secret police, crowds of people hit the streets of Banjul on Sunday night to celebrate, or drove around in their cars, honking horns. Hundreds gathered in a park opposite the presidential palace to listen to Barrow speak.

“Democracy has taken its course,” Barrow told the cheering crowd after the results were announced. “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 first term provided a welcome change for many to Jammeh’s brutal tenure. But progress was hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic, which damaged an economy that relies heavily on tourism, as well as exports of peanuts and fish.

As results came in on Sunday, representatives from all opposition parties signed off on nearly all the tally sheets read to the election commission.

But 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 because of problems at polling stations.

They did not provide specifics or evidence of wrongdoing.

“I call on all Gambians irrespective of our political divide, to put aside our political and other differences to come together and work for the development of our country,” said Barrow in his victory speech in Banjul shortly after the announcement was made.

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