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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Power beyond the Constraints of Federalism: The Case of Gambia’s 2016 Presidential Election

Even though Adama Barrow defeated the longtime president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, in the state’s presidential election in December, 2016, Barrow was rushed to the state of Senegal for security reasons when Jammeh refused to relinquish the power of the presidency. Jammeh had led a successful coup in coming to power in 1994. So it is no surprise that days after accepting the election result, he “changed his mind, declared the election results invalid and vowed to use the power of his military to stay in charge.”[1] This attests to the allure of power and how difficult it is to give up. In the E.U. and U.S., the protocols and institutional procedures are so well established that the nature of power is eclipsed from view as one political party assumes power previously held by another party. The reality of power as it lives in human nature is much more raw in the case of Gambia’s transition of presidents in 2016. I submit that federalism at the empire level was too lax to bracket the true nature of power at the state level.

The full essay is at "Gambia's 2016 Presidential Election."

Gambia's new president, Adama Barrow, returning to the state after the previous president agreed to leave office. (Jerome Delay/AP)



[1] Jaime Y. Barry and Dionne Searcey, “His Predecessor Gone, Gambia’s New President Finally Comes Home,” The New York Times, January 26, 2017.