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Gambia President Again Refuses to Step Down

Defeated Gambian President Yahya Jammeh insisted Wednesday he would not leave office at the end of his mandate in January until a court rules on his challenge to the outcome of this month’s election.

Gambia president again refuses to step down
Incumbent Gambian president Yahya Jammeh (C) gestures before casting his marble in a polling station in a presidential poll, in Banjul on December 01, 2016. The first of some 880,000 eligible voters headed to polling stations despite an internet blackout imposed overnight in a nation long accused by rights groups of suppressing freedom of expression. The Gambia’s unique voting system, which sees citizens vote by dropping a marble into a coloured drum for their candidate, could not be rigged, he added, meaning “there is no reason for anybody to protest.”
/ AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

Jammeh, who has been in power in the west African country for 22 years, has rejected the victory of opposition candidate Adama Barrow in the December 1 vote.

“Unless the court decides the case, there will be no inauguration (of Barrow) on the 19 January,” said Jammeh, who had initially conceded defeat but then lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court to overturn the result.

“What we are asking for is not for the IEC (Independent Election Commission) to declare me the winner, I cannot do that,” he said in a lengthy television address.

“Justice must be done and the only way justice can be done is to reorganise the election so that every Gambian votes. That’s the only way we can resolve the matter peacefully and fairly.”

He also took aim at the regional ECOWAS bloc which has called on Jammeh to accept the results, saying: “My rights cannot be violated and intimidated to a point where I succumb to blackmail.”

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