Gambian president resists defeat after saying he would concede election

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Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh attends the plenary session of the Africa-South America Summit in 2009. Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh attends the plenary session of the Africa-South America Summit in 2009. Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

The president of Gambia is taking steps to retain power, despite agreeing to concede defeat in an election held earlier this month.

Soldiers raided the office of the country’s independent electoral commission on President Yahya Jammeh’s orders Tuesday morning. The west African leader, who has ruled the country for 22 years, also filed a petition in the country’s supreme court to challenge the election results.

Gambians had hoped for a peaceful transition of power after Jammeh agreed to concede to presidential candidate Adama Barrow the day after the election on Dec. 1.

Jammeh first changed his mind publicly Friday on national television.

“I hereby reject the results,” he said.

Video by YouTube user Adeola Fayehun

Several West African leaders traveled to Gambia just before the military takeover of the electoral commission in an attempt to convince Jammeh to step down, Reuters.

The African Union, Economic Community of West African States and the United Nations have criticized Jammeh for not respecting the election results, saying his actions are a threat to Gambia and the entire West African region.

“It is fundamental that the verdict of the ballots should be respected, and that the security of the president-elect Adama Barrow, and that of all Gambian citizens be fully ensured,” the three governing bodies said in a joint statement.

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