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After Jammeh exit, Commonwealth says its doors open to Gambia return

After Jammeh exit, Commonwealth says its doors open to Gambia return

Gambia

In 2013, outgoing Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, pulled the West African country out of the Commonwealth union. Jammeh at the time said the 54-member group led by the United Kingdom was a ‘neo-colonial institution.’

In the wake of Jammeh’s defeat to Adama Barrow in the December 1 polls, the Commonwealth says its doors are open to a return by the Gambia.

A statement issued by its Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, commenting on the Gambia elections said, “When The Gambia left the Commonwealth in 2013, heads of government, meeting in Colombo that year, noted this decision with regret, and looked forward to the country’s eventual return. Like every close knit family, our Commonwealth doors remain open.”

When The Gambia left the Commonwealth in 2013, heads of government, meeting in Colombo that year, noted this decision with regret, and looked forward to the country’s eventual return. Like every close knit family, our Commonwealth doors remain open.

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She added the group’s commendation to the increasing international praise for the people of Gambia over the conduct of the polls, adding that the Gambia deserved praise ‘‘for the example it has set.”

“On 1 December, Gambians demonstrated Commonwealth values of peace, tolerance and respect for diversity and differing views, as they exercised their democratic franchise, and clearly and confidently charted their own path for the country’s future,’‘ the statement added.

Beside the Commonwealth, Jammeh this year announced the withdrawal of the Gambia from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Jammeh who came to power through a coup, was in power for over two decades, he conceded defeat in Thursday’s presidential election to Adama Barrow. A video recording showed Jammeh speaking to Barrow and congratulating the businessman.

The country’s Electoral Commission head, Alieu Momarr Njie, officially announced final results in front of reporters at the electoral commission in Banjul. Njie is quoted by AFP as telling journalists that “It is truly exceptional that someone who has led the country so long has accepted his defeat.”

According to the Electoral Commission, Barrow won 263,515 votes (45.5%) in Thursday’s election, while President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7%). A third party candidate, Mama Kandeh managed 102,969 (17.8%).

Barrow, the opposition coalition candidate ends 22-year rule by Yahya Jammeh who came to power through a coup in 1994. Internet and telephone communications which were cut hours before the start of polling on Thursday have reportedly been restored.

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