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Adama Barrow Heralds 'new hope' for the Gambia

Property developer, Adama Barrow says his shock win of the Gambian election heralds new hope for the country as Yahya Jammeh, an authoritarian president who ruled for 22 years, has confirmed he will step down saying "I will help him work towards the transition." Hundreds of Gambians took to the streets to celebrate one of the biggest election upsets West Africa has ever seen as Mr Barrow, 51, who has never held political office, won Thursday's election with 45.5% of the vote. President Jammeh took 36.7% of the vote, while a third party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won just 17.8%; President Jammeh has congratulated the property developer and vowed not to contest the results after deciding "that I should take the backseat".Mr Jammeh, also 51, took power in a bloodless coup in 1994 and has ruled the country with an iron fist ever since. Despite a surge of support for an opposition broadly united behind one candidate, most people expected the status quo to prevail and hopes weren't high for a peaceful transfer of power, with a crackdown on opposition leaders months before the polls, the banning of international observers or post-election demonstrations, and then the switching off of the internet on election day.The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, with a population of fewer than two million surrounded on three sides by Senegal and has a short Atlantic coastline popular with European tourists. Last year, President Jammeh declared the country an Islamic Republic in what he called a break from the country's colonial past.

Photo Credit: 
thegambiadaily.com

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