Barrow's party wins Gambia parliamentary election

Barrow's party wins Gambia parliamentary election

Barrow's party wins Gambia parliamentary election

NAIJ.com had reported on Thursday April 6 that Gambia held its first election since the ouster of ex-president Yahya Jammeh.

Barrow's party from where he resigned to contest as an independent presidential candidate, the United Democratic Party (UDP), won 31 seats, while other 3 parties within the coalition won a total of 11 seats, giving them 42 seats in total.

Gambians began voting on Thursday in the first election since the departure of longtime leader Yahya Jammeh, with multiple parties poised to enter parliament after 22 years of effective one-party rule.

Experts say that while the result could go feasibly in any direction, the relative novelty of a truly democratic election might fail to produce the unified front required to carry out the comprehensive overhaul of the state promised by Barrow.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the country's electoral commission, Alieu Momarr Njai said that his institution will ensure the integrity of the polls are protected.

The landscape of Gambian poltics have shifted dramatically since the last legislative elections in 2012, when Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) took 43 seats, with a large number of them uncontested because of an opposition boycott. Jammeh's government was long accused of rights abuses.

About 880,000 Gambians are eligible to vote.

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The president had initially said the opposition coalition was a "family" and would run again as a group in the legislative poll, but internal tensions broke apart the agreement.

Gambia's more than 1.8 million people were ruled for 22 years by Jammeh, whose refusal to leave power brought regional countries to the brink of a military intervention.

Five additional seats would be appointed directly by President Adama Barrow, who took power on January 19.

"We just hope that the voter turnout increases", said Manneh Sallah, vice-chairman of the electoral commission. Martin said it will also be vital that the new government not turn their back on the APRC and Jammeh's supporters, and work toward unity.

"I'm not anxious about any party but I'm also not underrating any party", he added. "What I am seeing is openness of the democratic process".

If candidates from his independent party are elected, he said, "we are going to make sure the Executive does what it is supposed to do".

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