The Gambia’s Jammeh has rule extended by three months

The Gambia’s National Assembly has voted to allow President Yahya Jammeh to stay in office for three months after he was due to leave power.

Jammeh lost an election in December to opposition leader Adama Barrow and is due to hand over power on Thursday, but the veteran leader has declared a state of emergency and says he will not step down before a court hears his election challenge.

The assembly’s decision announced on state television on Wednesday will raise tension with leaders of the West African bloc ECOWAS, which has threatened sanctions or military force to make Jammeh hand over to opposition leader Adama Barrow who won the election.

Jammeh declared the state of emergency on Tuesday, saying it it was to prevent a power vacuum while the supreme court rules on his petition disputing the election result.

The National Assembly’s resolution almost certainly gives the government authority to prevent Adama’s inauguration.

Barrow is in Senegal and could, in theory, be sworn in as president at the Gambian embassy in that country.

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