Adama Barrow was declared winner of the 2016 Gambian presidential election on Friday, bringing an end to Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule of the small West African nation.
Mr. Barrow, who enjoyed the support of seven political parties in a united opposition to Mr. Jammeh, won 45.5 percent of the vote to the incumbent’s 36.7 percent. Mama Kandeh, a former member of parliament, secured 17.8 percent of the vote.
Electoral commission chairman Alieu Momarr Njai announced the results on Friday.
“I hereby declare Adama Barrow duly elected president of the Republic of Gambia for the next five years,” he said.
While Mr. Jammeh has yet to call Mr. Barrow to congratulate him, sources from the electoral commission told AFP he plans to do so. Mr. Jammeh’s campaign manager, Yankuba Colley, said he believed the president would step down to hand over power to Mr. Barrow.
“When the Gambians make their verdict, he is someone who is faithful,” he told AFP. “It is a difficult result, but the man I know [Jammeh] will accept whatever comes.”
Upon hearing the election results, Gambians celebrated in the streets of Banjul, a quiet seaside city that serves as the country’s capital. Mr. Barrow’s emergence as president came as a shock to the nation, as repressive tactics employed by Mr. Jammeh, including cutting off internet connection the night before the election, seemed to indicate that he would continue to cling to power regardless of the election’s results. The electoral chairman himself said it was “very unique” for Mr. Jammeh to concede defeat.
Mr. Barrow, 51, has never held public office, with most of his experience being in property development and other business ventures. But his platform promoting democratic reform resonated with Gambians who have lived under the rule of Mr. Jammeh since 1994, when he rose to power as a 29-year-old military officer in a coup.