The streets of Gambia were dotted with thousands of jubilant people on 2 December, after opposition leader and former businessman Adama Barrow emerged as the new president of the tiny West African nation. Hundreds of thousands in Gambia and abroad rejoiced for what they thought was the end of decades-long abuses, stifled freedoms and economic hardship.

Adama defeated the long-standing President Yahya Jammeh, known to many for his record of alleged human rights violations, persecution of dissidents, journalists and activists and genocide remarks against the Mandinka people.

Therefore, when the 51-year-old leader – who took power in a bloodless coup in 1994 – initially conceded defeat, incredulity and irrepressible excitement inundated the country.

However, the widespread celebrations and the strong conviction Gambia was witnessing a historic moment were soon crushed by Jammeh's sudden decision to challenge the election result at the Supreme Court, citing "unacceptable abnormalities".

Jamme's U-turn sent shock waves across the nation, where a climate of fear has now overshadowed the promising future people dreamed of following Barrow's win.

With the country's imminent future unclear, IBTimes UK looks at the possible scenarios Gambia might face.

IBTimes UK interviews President-elect Adama Barrow: I am the rightful leader of this country

Will Jammeh be prosecuted?

When, earlier this year, Gambia announced the country would pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC), some argued the decision was made to avoid a possible prosecution of Jammeh should he lose election.

Some have suggested Jammeh's U-turn was prompted after a member of the opposition coalition, Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, said the leader would be prosecuted for abuses he allegedly committed during his time in office.

After conceding, Jammeh said he wanted to go back to his farm in his native village in Kanilai, on the border with Senegal. However, Tambajang said the opposition feared Jammeh would try to escape to Senegal, or else start an insurgency.

Tambajang insists she was expressing a personal view and her statement did not necessarily reflect the coalition's position on the matter. Barrow also said he would not prosecute Jammeh and will treat him as a former head of state.

Will Barrow be sworn-in?

Barrow is due to be sworn in on 19 January. The President-elect, who worked in an Argos store in London, told IBTimes UK he considers himself the "rightful leader" of the country and will go ahead with the inauguration in spite of Jammeh's efforts to cling on to power.

The opposition coalition has also warned Jammeh will be treated as a rebel leader if he refuses to concede.

Meanwhile, Jammeh said he will resist pressure to step down, criticising leaders from neighbouring countries for urging him to concede.

Earlier in December, four West African leaders – from Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana – met Jammeh and urged him to accept defeat.

The leaders left without managing to secure a deal.

Is a military intervention likely?

On 14 December, security forces initially pledging alliance to Barrow backtracked, claiming they were loyal to Jammeh before taking over the electoral commission headquarters. The move sparked fears of possible violence.

Following the West African leader's failure to reach a deal with Jammeh, the head of the Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) claimed that a military intervention to remove Jammeh was "possible".

However, Barrow told IBTimes UK he was confident the issue could be resolved peacefully.

Can the Supreme Court rule in favour of Jammeh?

Jammeh's U-turn followed an admission by Gambia's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) that it had erred during vote counting, and Barrow's margin of victory had narrowed from 9% to 4%.

Despite the changes, the commission insists that the new tally leaves the outcome of the election unchanged. with Barrow receiving 43.3% of the vote, and Jammeh 39.6%.

Jammeh, who is calling for fresh election, said he would wait for the Supreme Court ruling until, eventually, ceding power. The court adjourned the case to 10 January.

During Jammeh's administration, all the judges of the top court, with the exception of chief justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, were sacked.

The opposition coalition claimed Jammeh has no longer constitutional authority to name new judges to hear his petition, however AFP news agency quoted court sources as saying six foreign judges have now been appointed to hear Jammeh's complaint.

A statement published by the Gambian Bar Association (GBA), which appeared on the Sahara Reporters website, alleged Fagbenle "would take steps to extend the illegal regime of Jammeh".

The association said it had no confidence in Fagbenle and said it would bring the matter to the attention of the Nigerian government, which has not responded to IBTimes UK's request for comment.