AP Update: The UN Security Council on Saturday demanded that Gambia’s leader Yahya Jammeh hand over power to the president-elect after he rejected the election results in a dramatic political U-turn.
In a unanimous statement, the 15 council members called on Jammeh to “respect the choice of the sovereign people of The Gambia, as he did on December 2 2016, and to transfer, without condition and undue delay, power to the President-elect, Mr Adama Barrow.”
In power for the past 22 years in the West African country, Jammeh surprised his critics when he accepted defeat a day after the December 1 vote.
But he reversed course on Friday, announcing he no longer accepted the results.
Council members “strongly condemned” Jammeh’s decision to reject the results and call for a new election.
They urged him to “carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process and they requested that the security of the president-elect Adama Barrow, and that of all Gambian citizen be fully ensured.”
The African Union and the United States had earlier condemned in strong terms the rejection of the results of the Gambia presidential elections by defeated President Yayyah Jammeh.
The President-elect, Adama Barrow, accused Jammeh of damaging democracy while Senegal has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nation’s security council to deliberate on the matter.
Jameh had Friday called for a fresh elections after a review of the elections by country’s electoral commission showed that the winner, Adama Barrow, won with a 4 per cent margin as against the 9 per cent originally allocated to him.
Jameh had initially admitted defeat and even congratulated the winner.
But the African Union said Jammeh’s position was “null and void”.
AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Mr Jammeh’s latest statement was “null and void” because he had already conceded defeat in the election.
“The chairperson of the commission strongly urges President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power,” she said.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “This action is a reprehensible and unacceptable breach of faith with the people of the Gambia and an egregious attempt to undermine a credible election process and remain in power illegitimately.”
Barrow’s spokesman said the Army Chief, Gen Usman Badjie, supported the president-elect after the initial result was declared, a BBC report said.
According to the electoral commission, the revised results of the vote on 1 December was:
• Mr Barrow won 222,708 votes (43.34%)
• President Jammeh took 208,487 (39.6%)
• A third-party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 (17.1%)
Mr Barrow, a property developer, is due to take office in late January.