Opposition leaders were a no-show at coalition talks

Opposition leaders were a no-show at coalition talks

Only two presidential candidates showed up Monday at opposition unity talks in Banjul, as party leaders and supporters remain hopeful of a coalition to end President Yahya Jammeh’s rule.

Halifa Sallah of the PDOIS and independent candidate Dr. Isatou Touray held a closed-door meeting at the Kairaba Hotel but Sallah said he does not why others did not show up.

The press was kept out of the meeting room. The meeting was said to be confidential.

Opposition leaders are expected to meet next week. Leaders held a meeting last week in which the GMC party said it was never invited to.

The GDC said it will unveil its coalition plan next month.

The NRP and GDC pulled out of youth-led unity talks but young political leaders say they remain hopeful that opposition leaders will come to an agreement based on a resolution they presented.

At least one opposition party, Gambia Moral Congress said it received no invitation to take part in talks and has not sent a representative to last week’s coalition talks.

Gambians will be voting in presidential polls in December and without opposition unity, President Yahya Jammeh is predicted to win a fifth term.

Though opposition groups have asked for access to state media and expressed concerns about voter fraud, electoral commission chief Alieu Njie said he will preside over transparent and free and fair polls.

The EU and UN have urged The Gambia to release opposition detainees including UDP leader Ousainou Darboe. The current saw an unprecedented crackdown on opposition activists leading to two deaths ahead of polls.

(Reporting from Banjul; Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Writing by Sainey MK Marenah; Editing by Sam Phatey)

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