Election chief stands by Jammeh defeat

President Yahya Jammeh

President Yahya Jammeh

The Gambia’s Elections Commission head has dismissed President Yahya Jammeh’s call to annul the election he was declared to have lost.

Mr. Jammeh said on state television on Saturday that he rejected the result and his party announced they will file a petition to the Supreme Court.

Elections head Alieu Momarr Njai told Reuters that “if it goes to court, we can prove every vote cast”.

Gambians use marbles instead of ballot papers to cast votes.

In his TV appearance, Mr. Jammeh announced his “total rejection of the election result… thereby annulling the election”.

He said “we will go back to the polls because I want to make sure every Gambian has voted”.

He said he was preparing a petition “against the flawed decision of the Independent Elections Commission”.

But Mr. Njai told Reuters: “The election results were correct, nothing will change that”.

According to the Electoral Commission, as a result of the vote on December 1: Adama Barrow won 222,708 votes (43.3%), President Jammeh took 208,487 (39.6%), a third-party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 (17.1%)

The results were revised by the country’s Electoral Commission on December 5, when it emerged that the ballots for one area were added incorrectly, swelling Mr. Barrow’s vote.

The error, which also added votes to the other candidates, “has not changed the status quo” of the result, the commission said.

However, it narrowed Mr. Barrow’s margin of victory from nine per cent to four per cent..

Mr. Jammeh, who has been in power in The Gambia for 22 years, originally conceded victory to Mr. Barrow, who used to be a security guard in chain store Argos in London.

He was even filmed telephoning Mr. Barrow saying “you are the elected president of Gambia and I wish you all the best”.

Last week a leading member of the coalition that defeated Mr. Jammeh told the UK’s The Guardian newspaper that President Jammeh would be prosecuted for alleged crimes committed during his rule.

Mr. Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party announced, late on Saturday, that a petition would be filed to The Gambia’s Supreme Court.

President-elect Barrow said on Sunday that he feared for his safety.

 

 -BBC

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