GAMBIAN presidential candidate Essa Mbye Faal has congratulated President Adama Barrow for winning re-election, backtracking after he and two other candidates had refused to accept the result.
Barrow’s resounding win in Saturday’s peaceful polls was seen as a win for democracy in the tiny West African country of 2.5 million people. The vote helped draw a line under the oppressive 22-year rule of former president Yahya Jammeh, who lost to Barrow in 2016 and was forced into exile.
The victory was tainted slightly by an announcement late on Sunday by Faal, main challenger Ousainou Darboe, and another candidate that they would reject the results because of alleged problems at polling stations and other issues.
Faal, who ran as an independent and won 2% of the vote, has since told reporters that he accepts defeat, without explaining his change of heart.
“I have called Adama Barrow for his electoral victory,” he said. “I told my supporters that we have lost the elections and we should accept the will of God.”
The two other candidates have not said how they will proceed. They said on Sunday that “all actions are on the table.”
Election observers from the African Union said the election was conducted in line with international standards, while EU observers on Monday praised the transparency of the voting and counting process.
However, in its statement, the EU observer mission criticised the Independent Electoral Commission, saying its pre-election candidate acceptance process was overly opaque.