Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has said he will not step down before a Supreme Court decision on disputed elections, a ruling now not expected until May. In a nationwide TV broadcast, the longstanding ruler also reiterated his concern at “foreign interference”. Regional mediators, led by Nigeria’s president, are expected in The Gambia on Friday to urge him to accept defeat following December’s election. President-elect Adama Barrow says he will be inaugurated next week. Mr Jammeh, who initially accepted defeat in the 1 December poll, lodged a case before the Supreme Court after the electoral commission changed some results. But the commission insists the outcome was not affected by an initial error and property developer Mr Barrow narrowly won.
Mr Jammeh seized power in the tiny country in 1994 and has been accused of human rights abuses, although he has held regular elections.
The president made his speech on Tuesday evening after it was announced that the Supreme Court hearing would be delayed until May because of a shortage of judges, who mostly come from neighbouring countries.
The chief justice suggested mediation would be the best way forward as Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and other West African leaders head to the country in another attempt to end the deadlock. But Mr Jammeh said his cabinet and the National Assembly would remain in place “to ensure the rule of law is upheld” pending the court’s ruling.