Gambia President-Elect Barrow Says Jammeh Appeal Can’t Proceed

Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow said the incumbent Yahya Jammeh’s plan to appeal his election loss in the country’s highest court can’t proceed because there are no sitting judges to hear a petition.

Barrow spoke after the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction said it will appeal the Dec. 1 outcome in which Barrow defeated Jammeh even though the president announced that he annulled the poll results. Jammeh, who has ruled the West African nation since 1994, initially conceded defeat and undertook to step down in January.

The Supreme Court had no sitting judges for at least a year, Barrow said in a statement read to reporters Monday by his legal adviser, Mai Fatty, in the capital, Banjul. The outgoing president had no constitutional authority to appoint new judges in the last days of his reign, Barrow said.

“Any petition in the court will demonstrate once again that his attempt is meant to derail the smooth transfer of executive power,” he said. “We are going to call on the international community to demand that Jammeh immediately steps down and hand over power.”

Jammeh’s initial acceptance of his defeat marked the end of a 22-year rule in which he has been criticized by human right groups for brutally stifling dissent. He won landslide victories in four previous polls.

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