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Gambian President, Adama Barrow comfortably won a second term in last weekend’s presidential election, with thousands of his supporters hitting the streets of Banjul to celebrate, although his opponents have rejected the results.
Barrow, whose assumption of the presidency five years ago ended more than 20 years of dictatorship, garnered more than 53 percent of the vote, according to results released by the electoral commission with his main opponent Ousainou Darboe won 27.7 percent.
Africa Today News, New York gathered that Saturday’s election, the first since former dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile, is seen as crucial for the young West African democracy.
Electoral commission chairman Alieu Momarr Njai declared Barrow the winner, announcing the final results to journalists hours after rival candidates had challenged partial results that gave him a commanding lead.
Crowds of Barrow’s supporters marched through the streets of the capital to a din of horns and danced on a vast esplanade.
Barrow received a standing ovation when he addressed them with ‘a great sense of joy and humility’ and called on his supporters to respect those who voted for his opponents in a ‘free, fair and transparent election’.
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‘I will do all I can and utilise every resource at my disposal to make The Gambia a better place for us all,‘ he said.
Before the full results were announced, three of Barrow’s rivals had rejected partial results that gave him an early lead.
‘At this stage we reject the results announced so far’, Darboe and two other candidates said in a joint statement. ‘All actions are on table.’
Gambians flocked to the polling booths Saturday to choose who would lead their country — the smallest in mainland Africa — for the next five years, with turnout at 87 percent, according to official results.
Africa Today News, New York gathered that earlier Sunday, Ernest Bai Koroma, head of an election observation mission from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), appealed to all the candidates ‘to accept the outcome of the election in good faith.
‘There will be no winner or loser but only one winner, The Gambian people,’ he said in his statement.
The election is being closely watched as a test of the democratic transition in The Gambia, where Jammeh ruled for 22 years after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1994.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK