Gambia's national assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution to allow President Yahya Jammeh to stay in power for an additional three months.
The resolution comes a day before his term officially ends, and after he declared a 90-day state of emergency this week which further complicates the prospect of a peaceful transfer of power.
Following an election on December 1, Jammeh initially conceded defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow but later refused to step down. Jammeh said the state of emergency would prevent a power vacuum while the supreme court decides on his petition challenging opposition leader Adama Barrow's victory.
Barrow was due to be sworn in as president on Thursday, but remains in neighbouring Senegal for his safety.
TRT World's Fidelis Mbah has more.
State of emergency
The 90-day state of emergency forbids Gambian citizens from "any acts of disobedience" or violence and urges security forces to maintain order.
The National Assembly, in approving the state of emergency, condemned as "unlawful and malicious interference" moves by the African Union's Peace and Security Council to intervene.
The council said the regional body will no longer recognise Jammeh as Gambia's legitimate leader as of Thursday. How Wednesday's resolution will affect this decision is unclear.
The president has shown little interest in diplomacy after rebuffing two high-level delegations by west African leaders in recent weeks pleading with him to go.
Nigeria and other West African nations are said to be preparing to intervene militarily if the need arises.
Thousands flee amid political uncertainty
Four more cabinet ministers in Jammeh's government defected, a source close to the regime told AFP on Tuesday, while citizens stream out of the country in fear of unrest.
People are queuing up at the ferry and bus stations in Banjul, the capital, to flee to towns like Basse and Bansang in Gambia, Guinea, and Casamance in neighbouring Senegal.
One traveller said those arriving at 10 am would have to wait until the following day to board a ferry at Banjul port to cross the river headed for Senegal, unless they bribed officials, due to huge numbers exiting the city.
The UN's refugee agency has said several thousand Gambians have crossed the border in the last few weeks to seek shelter with extended family while they await for Jammeh to hand over power.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged opposition leader and president-elect Adama Barrow to stay in Senegal for his safety.