The Gambia will hold its first election on Thursday since the downfall of longtime leader Yahya Jammeh. Expectations are high that new lawmakers will overhaul the national assembly once derided as a mere rubberstamp by many in the country. Gambians have long complained that under Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years, laws were often made by executive decree and buttressed by legislation much later on, if at all. Campaigning ended on Tuesday for the 238 registered candidates representing nine different political parties who are vying for the 53 seats up for election.
Articles about voting issues in The Republic of The Gambia.
In response to an invitation by the Gambian authorities, the European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to The Gambia to observe the Parliamentary elections scheduled for 6 April 2017. This would be the first time the EU would be deploying a fully-fledged EOM in The Gambia, reflecting the EU’s commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country in a framework of broader democratic reforms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Mr Miroslav Poche, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer.
Using a combination of diplomacy and muscle, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forced longtime Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to cede power this month to challenger Adama Barrow, who won the nation’s general election. Neighboring Senegal amassed troops and threatened to remove Jammeh by force. Regional powerhouse Nigeria threatened to help. The presidents of Mauritania and Guinea conducted shuttle diplomacy between Gambia’s capital of Banjul and Senegal, where Barrow had fled. Jammeh finally agreed to go into exile on January 20. Despite the successful outcome, some question the wisdom of ECOWAS intervening on behalf of the people of the Gambia.
West African troops entered the Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Sunday, to cheers from the city’s residents, a Reuters witness said, as part of efforts to allow the new president, Adama Barrow, to take office after the country’s former ruler fled overnight. Yahya Jammeh, who led the Gambia for 22 years but refused to accept defeat in a December election, flew out of Banjul late on Saturday en route to Equatorial Guinea as the regional force was poised to remove him. A convoy of around 15 vehicles, including armoured personnel carriers mounted with heavy machine guns and pick-up trucks full of soldiers, rolled down one Banjul street in the late afternoon, according to a Reuters journalist who saw them. City residents lined the road, applauding and shouting “thank you” as the soldiers smiled and waved back. Troops were later seen entering the presidential compound, State House.
Yahya Jammeh, the former Gambian president, has left the country after he finally agreed to step down following 22 years of rule. Jammeh and his family headed into political exile on Saturday night, ending a 22-year reign of fear and a post-election political standoff that threatened to provoke a regional military intervention when he clung to power. As he mounted the stairs to the plane, he turned to the crowd, kissed his Qur’an and waved one last time to supporters, including soldiers who cried at his departure. The flight came almost 24 hours after Jammeh announced on state television he was ceding power to the newly inaugurated Adama Barrow, in response to mounting international pressure calling for his departure. Though tens of thousands of Gambians had fled the country during his rule, Jammeh supporters flocked to the airport to see him walk the red carpet to his plane. Jammeh landed in Guinea an hour later and members of his family emerged from the plane, though the country might not be his final destination.
The political standoff in Gambia intensified on Thursday as foreign troops crossed the border with orders to dislodge a repressive leader who has refused to step down after losing a presidential election last month. Gambia’s erratic leader, Yahya Jammeh, seized power in a coup 22 years ago and once said he could rule for a billion years. But on Thursday the Senegalese military headed toward the capital of Gambia, Banjul, where Mr. Jammeh has been holed up in the state house, insisting that his rule is still valid. Mr. Jammeh has warned that he will fight back against any foreign military intervention. At least 26,000 Gambians, worried about violence, have fled the country, the United Nations says, and several senior officials in Mr. Jammeh’s government have resigned in protest or have left the nation as well.
The Gambia: President’s Term Running Out, Gambia Shudders as He Refuses to Quit | The New York Times
President Yahya Jammeh once predicted that his rule could last a billion years. Now, the fate of his nation is hanging on one more anxiety-filled day. After acknowledging defeat in an election last month, Mr. Jammeh abruptly changed his mind, refusing to step aside for the inauguration of the new president scheduled for Thursday and threatening to drag the nation into a bloody standoff. Mr. Jammeh, who has long been criticized for human rights abuses and grandiose claims like being able to cure AIDS with little more than prayer and a banana, has insisted on a do-over election. He declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, warning the nation not to engage in any “acts of disobedience.” West African nations are preparing to enter the country and force Mr. Jammeh’s ouster if he does not leave. In response, Mr. Jammeh has threatened that his own military is prepared to defend Gambia’s sovereignty.
The president of The Gambia has declared a state of emergency in the west African country two days before he is due to leave office. The declaration is the latest in a series of attempts by Yahya Jammeh to hang onto power beyond his current tally of 22 years. Adama Barrow, a former estate agent who beat Jammeh in the December election, is due to be inaugurated on Thursday, but the incumbent is refusing to leave. Meanwhile, four government ministers, including the foreign and finance ministers defected on Tuesday, leaving Jammeh increasingly isolated. Thousands of Gambians are fleeing the country or sending their children abroad, afraid that the regional organisation ECOWAS will make good on its promise to resort to force to remove Jammeh if necessary. Hundreds of women and children balancing suitcases on their heads took the ferry out of Banjul, the country’s capital, on Tuesday, many bound for the border.
The top judge in Gambia’s Supreme Court declined on Monday to rule on President Yahya Jammeh’s petition to overturn his election defeat, as many Gambians wait nervously to see how the veteran leader will react to his rival’s planned inauguration this week. Jammeh initially conceded defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow following the Dec. 1 poll but later changed his mind, drawing widespread condemnation and the threat of a military intervention by regional neighbours. Whether Gambia succeeds in swearing in Barrow is viewed as a test for democracy in West Africa, a region which is seeking to draw a line under a history of coups and autocratic rule.
Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow has left the country for neighboring Senegal, a coalition member and local media said on Sunday, a day after West African leaders failed to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step aside. Barrow, a former real estate agent, won a Dec. 1 election in the former British colony by a slim margin. Long-ruling Jammeh conceded defeat but then changed his mind, plunging one of West Africa’s tourist hot spots into crisis and dimming hopes for democracy in a region accustomed to coups and autocratic rule. Barrow, backed by the West and the African Union, is due to be inaugurated on Jan. 19, although Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to poll results. “He (Barrow) is in Dakar. He will be back for the inauguration and we are mobilizing the whole country for that,” said Isatou Toure, a member of Barrow’s coalition.