Gambia: Yahya Jammeh concedes loss to Adama Barrow

Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the country for 22 years, congratulates opposition leader Adama Barrow for his "clear victory".

    Yahya Jammeh, the longtime president of The Gambia, has conceded defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow, accepting that the people have "decided that I should take the back seat".

    Jammeh, who came to power in 1994 as a 29-year-old army officer following a military coup, had won four previous polls.

    Speaking to the public on Gambian television late on Friday, Jammeh congratulated Barrow for his "clear victory", saying: "I wish him all the best and I wish all Gambians the best."

    He said: "If [Barrow] wants to work with us also, I have no problem with that. I will help him work towards the transition," he said, confirming that he would not contest the result.

    Barrow's victory in Thursday's presidential election brings to an end Jammeh's 22-year rule.

    Gambians voted by placing marbles into drums marked for each candidate.

    Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia for 22 years [Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters]

    Many stayed up all night listening to the radio and tallying results as they were read out constituency by constituency. 

    Barrow received 263,515 votes while Jammeh won 212,099, Alieu Momarr Njai, the electoral commission head, said in the capital Banjul on Friday.

    News of Barrow's victory prompted thousands to take to the streets of Banjul in celebration - some on foot while others rode in cars and trucks and on motorbikes - as confused soldiers looked on.

    Candidate of change

    "For many Gambians, this is the first time they have voted," Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque, reporting from Fatick in neighbouring Senegal due to Gambian restrictions, said. "They have only seen for the last 22 years one ruler. A lot of young people want to see change and a new ruler.

    "Adama Barrow represents change; he represents hope for a lot of young Gambians."

    In his first comments after the results came out, Barrow acknowledged the nation's huge shift.

    "It's time for work. It's a new Gambia," he said.

    An estate agent who worked as a security guard in Britain, Barrow was chosen as the opposition candidate by a group of political parties who had joined forces for the first time, rustling up unprecedented popular support.

    Still, Jammeh had projected confidence, saying his victory was all but assured by God, predicting "the biggest landslide in the history of the country" after he voted on Thursday.

    Voters placed marbles into drums marked for each candidate [Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News and Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.