Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Friday rejected the outcome of last week’s election that he lost to opposition leader Adama Barrow and called for fresh elections, a week after admitting defeat.
The announcement made on state television throws the future of the West African country into doubt after an unexpected election result that ended Jammeh’s 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.
Mr Jammeh cited “abnormalities” in the vote and called for fresh elections.
He said: “After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process.”
“I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission.”
Mr Jammeh, who took power in a coup in 1994, was defeated by Adama Barrow, who won more than 43% of the vote.
Mr Barrow accused the incumbent of damaging democracy by refusing to accept the result. His transition team said the president-elect was safe.
The results were revised by the country’s electoral commission on 5 December, when it emerged that the ballots for one area were added incorrectly, swelling Mr Barrow’s vote.
The error, which also added votes to the other candidates, “has not changed the status quo” of the result, the commission said.
However, it narrowed Mr Barrow’s margin of victory from 9% to 4%.