Gambia president's party takes majority in new parliament

Gambia president's party takes majority in new parliament

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

(JollofNews) - Gambians are voting in the first parliamentary elections since the defeat of the country's former long-term ruler Yahya Jammeh. The results mean Barrow can move ahead with promised reforms.

The United Democratic Party (UDP), which was once a strong opposition force, is hoping to secure a vast majority in the assembly and is contesting the election with the maximum number of contenders.

Barrow has pledged radical reforms to revive Gambia's ailing economy and has also initiated a probe into the alleged rights abuses taken place under Jammeh's rule.

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More than 880,000 Gambians are eligible to vote and polls are open until 5pm.

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.

More than 1.8 million Gambians were ruled for 22 years by Jammeh, whose refusal to leave power brought regional countries to the brink of a military intervention.

"The support we are getting from the electorate during the campaign is a clear indication that we are going to win", he told AFP news agency.

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Some 886,000 Gambians are registered to vote on 239 candidates for 53 constituencies.

Smaller parties who joined the coalition took 11 more seats, and one independent candidate took a seat.

Voter turnout was low, however, according to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). "It's increased our confidence and I think in the near future it will be very easy for us to form a government", Dibba said. "I will never vote for APRC again and the other is UDP, I am not comfortable with them", she added, calling the UDP "tribalist" troublemakers.

Jawara, who led protests a year ago and said she had been subjected to torture by the now-defunct National Intelligence Agency, said she was confident about a victory in her constituency, which had been a stronghold of Jammeh's ruling party for the past two decades.

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Madrid have been victorious in four straight matches and has scored at least a goal in its last 50 games in all competitions. Sevilla sits in fourth, eight points ahead of fifth-place Bilbao and even with third-place Atlético Madrid .

"Given Jammeh's stranglehold over Gambian politics for the past 22 years, the country's opposition parties are inexperienced to the democratic process and relatively weak institutionally", said Joseph Siegle, director of research at the US-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

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