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Gambian Businessman Upsets 22-Year Sitting President in Historic Presidential Election


Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia’s authoritarian president of 22 years, has suffered a surprise defeat in presidential elections. He will be replaced by property developer Adama Barrow, who won more than 45 percent of the vote.
Jammeh, who came to power in a coup in 1994, has not commented since the results were announced.
Electoral Commission Chief Alieu Momar Njie Njie has appealed for calm as the country enters uncharted waters. The West African nation has not had a smooth transfer of power since gaining its independence from Britain in 1965.

Barrow got 263,515 votes (45.5 percent) in Thursday’s election, while President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7 percent), according to the electoral commission. A third-party candidate, Mama Kandeh, totaled 102,969 (17.8 percent).

“There will be celebrations, there will be disappointment, but we all know we are all Gambia,” Njie said, after announcing the results on Friday.

Who is Adama Barrow?

Born in 1965 in a small village near the eastern market town of Basse, Barrow moved to London in the early 2000s, where he reportedly worked as a security guard at an Argos catalog store while studying. He returned to The Gambia in 2006 to set up his own property company, which he still runs today.

Barrow won the presidential nomination in 2016 to lead an opposition coalition of seven parties, the largest alliance of its kind since independence, according to AFP.
During his campaign, Barrow promised to revive the country’s economy, which has forced thousands of Gambians to make the perilous journey to Europe seeking work.
He has criticized the lack of a two-term limit on the presidency and says he would introduce a three-year transitional government made up of members of the opposition coalition.

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