Gambian President Barrow wins second term
3 opposition parties and independent candidate reject polls which local observers deemed free and fair
Gambia’s incumbent leader Adama Barrow has secured a landslide victory in his bid for a second term, the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced Sunday.
The commission’s chairman, Alieu Momarr Njai, declared Barrow the country’s president-elect.
Barrow came to power in 2016 after defeating long-term ruler Yahya Jammeh at the polls with the backing of seven political parties. He later fell out with the United Democratic Party (UDP) and formed his National Peoples’ Party, under whose ticket he vied for the presidency.
Barrow received a total of 457,519 votes, while his closest rival, Ousainou Darboe of the UDP, got 238,253 votes.
Across the West African country of some 2.5 million people, over 962,000 people were registered to vote.
Other candidates who contested the polls were Ebrima Abdoulie Jammeh of the National Unity Party; independent Essa Mbye Faal; Halifa Sallah of the People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS); and Mamma Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress.
Gambia uses a secret balloting system, and voters must present their voter’s cards at the polling station before they can cast their ballots.
Only one voter is allowed to enter the polling booth at a time to vote, using a set of marbles color coded to fit parties and candidates.
A coalition of Gambian observers issued a statement Sunday evening saying the polls were free and fair.
“We hereby state that based on our elections observation findings throughout the Dec. 4 presidential elections, the elections are free and fair,” it said in a statement.
However, three opposition parties and an independent candidate announced that they were rejecting the results, without producing any evidence of any irregularity.
They comprise the UDP, the Gambia Democratic Congress and the National Unity Party and independent candidate Essa Faal.
“A number of issues have been raised by our agents and representatives at the polling station centers and at the IEC headquarters. As a result, the representatives of the aforementioned candidates at the IEC headquarters refused to endorse some of the results that were announced through the public media,” the parties said in a statement.
“We are investigating this matter with our partners to determine our future course of action. At this point in time, we reject the results thus far announced by the IEC. We reserve the right to embark on any lawful course of action the situation requires. To this end, all options are on the table.”
Meanwhile, the president’s party has already begun a victory celebration in Banjul, the nation’s capital, where Barrow is expected to address his supporters.
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