Gambia's Chief of Justice has decided he will not rule on an injunction seeking to stop the inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow on 19 January. The ruling party Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) filed the injunction earlier in January, as outgoing leader Yahya Jammeh is refusing to relinquish power.
Jammeh, who took power following a bloodless coup in 1994, lost the presidential election in December 2016 and is due to step down on 18 January.
Emmanuel Fagbenle explained he refused to rule on the motion because he is the subject of it, the BBC reported.
Among other things, the motion called on Fagbenle to abstain from swearing Barrow in.
It is yet unclear what will happen on 19 January.
Jammeh initially conceded defeat. However, he now intends to contest the election result at the Supreme Court due to what he claims are "unacceptable abnormalities".
The apex court said it could hear Jammeh's case on the election in May or even November, due to lack of judges available to hear the case.
Barrow, who will stay in Senegal until the day of his inauguration, told IBTimes UK he considered himself the "rightful leader" of the country.
A delegation of West African leaders, led by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, has failed to persuade Jammeh to step down.
Nigeria's House of Representatives approved a motion, not biding on the government, to grant asylum to Jammeh as long as he steps down when his term expires.
Meanwhile, reports warned Gambians are fleeing to neighbouring nations, fearing the country's political impasse will escalate into violence in the following days.
In December, Marcel Alain de Souza, the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), claimed that a military intervention to remove Jammeh was "possible" and that "stand-by forces" – likely led by Senegal – were on alert and would be deployed "to restore the people's wishes".