The leader of Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party said his and five other parties plan to boycott the country’s March 29th legislative election unless the Independent Election Commission [IEC] can assure them of a level playing field. Ousainou Darboe’s comments came as other opposition leaders in The Gambia have asked the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] to arbitrate the dispute ahead of the election. Darboe said the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction Party of President Yahya Jammeh is also abusing the power of incumbency in order to tilt the election results in its favor. “I have joined with other opposition parties in the country not to participate in the upcoming National Assembly election. This due is to the fact that the IEC has rejected our demand for a postponement of the election so as to enable a level playing field being created, which would allow for a free, fair and transparent election,” he said.
Articles about voting issues in The Republic of The Gambia.
Six Gambian opposition parties said on Thursday they will boycott a parliamentary election due to be held later this month, saying it would not be transparent and urging mediators to secure a postponement of the vote. The group boycotting the poll includes the UDP party, the main opposition to President Yahya Jammeh. However, the second-largest rival NRP has said it will stand in the March 29 vote. Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, won re-election late last year but the African Union was uncharacteristically critical of the poll, saying he benefited from a strong media bias and greater financial resources in the race. The opposition parties have complained there is no level political playing field and accuse the ruling party of using state resources.
Gambia: Gambian Incumbent President Jammeh re-elected with landslide victory, calls for national unity | NL-Aid
President Yahya Jammeh on Friday secured a new five-year term after the Independent Electoral Commission declared him winner of 24th November 2011 presidential election. Results announced by the returning officer and Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Mustapha L. Carayol, showed Jammeh polled 72% of the total votes cast while main opposition leader Ousainou Darboe polled 17%. Independent candidate Hamat Bah scored 11% of the total votes cast. Voter turnout was 83%, showing a massive jump from that of the 2006 elections, which was about 59%.
According to the IEC chairman, out of a total number of 796, 929 voters, Hamat Bah polled 73, 060 votes, Ousainou Darboe 114, 177 votes while President Yahya Jammeh polled 470, 550 votes. Jammeh’s victory, seen by many as a foregone conclusion, was also described as historic in the country’s politics, as Jammeh won with a landslide in all the 48 constituencies across the country.
The chairman of Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission is sharply denying reports conditions on the ground are not conducive to ensure today’s (Thursday) presidential election is transparent, free and fair. Mustapha Carayol says “it is impossible to rig elections in Gambia” despite opposition and international observer group claims that the vote will not be credible.
Polling stations in the 48 constituencies are scheduled to open at 7:00 am and close at 4:00pm local time. Carol predicts Gambians will learn the outcome of the presidential vote by 6:00 am, Friday.
Barely three weeks to the the November 24th Presidential Election, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has embarked on a countrywide tour, meant to sensitise the people about the mandate of his Commission and also stress the importance of peace during the elections.
Mustapha Carayol’s move is indeed worthy of commendation, as it is only an independent and transparent electoral commission that engages the electorate and stakeholders in election at such a degree. The chairman’s additional advice to village heads to allow all political parties campaign in their respective villages is a testimony to this fact. The electorate should pay heed to the IEC chairman’s message, because it is peace that can guarantee us a free and fair election, which is fundamental since one of the most fundamental pillars of democracy is the conduct of periodic free and fair elections.
Much more, election is the only effective mechanism through which citizens not only exercise their political sovereignty but also deliver verdict on the management of their destiny and as well make meaningful choices in selecting the best among the people to administer the common good.
Full Article: allAfrica.com: Gambia: Towards a Peaceful Election.
As the elections of 2011 draw near, speculations about the credibility of the voter register dominate the political debate, casting doubts on the entire electoral process. At issue is the possible registration of minors and non-citizens, which has created the inflated number of registered voters in this election cycle.
The number of voters registered for the 2011 election season does not support the approximate birth and deaths rates evidence. In these elections, the IEC announced the registration of a total of 869,000 voters, which is an increase of 199, 000 new voters from the 670,000 registered in the 2006 elections.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) registered 837 029 voters during 44 days of voter registration exercise, according to the commission’s chairman Alhagie Mustapha Carayol. He expressed satisfaction over the just concluded voters’ registration, saying: ‘’at the end of the 44 days of the exercise, the provisional number of registered voters is 837, 029.’’
Chairman Carayol told a press conference at the commission’s headquarters Thursday ‘’I seized the opportunity to register the electoral body’s gratitude to the Government of the Republic of the Gambia for entirely and exclusively funding the General Registration of voters exercise.”