Gambia’s coalition candidate formalizes his nomination, urges electoral commission to be independent

Gambia’s coalition candidate formalizes his nomination, urges electoral commission to be independent

Adama Barrow, the presidential hopeful for a coalition of seven opposition parties has officially formalized his nomination with The Gambia’s electoral commission.

Barrow, 51, a businessman submitted his nomination papers to electoral chief Alieu Mommar Njie on Wednesday at the Election House, outside the capital Banjul.

Thousands of supporters and opposition leaders including independent contender who suspended her campaign to endorse Barrow accompanied him to Independent Electoral Commission, where he presented his education credentials, tax clearance certificate, 5,000 nomination signatures and some 1,400 voter cards.

Barrow urged Mr. Njie to be independent. Njie has resounded calls that polls will be free and fair and would not be rigged.

“You are expected to be independent. If you are independent, it will make Gambia a better place. If you are independent, it will make it easier to accept the results,” Barrow said.

The opposition presidential hopeful will be challenging President Yahya Jammeh in hopes to deny him an extension of his 2-year iron fist rule. He pledged to maintain peace and stability and ensure the respect of the rights of the country’s 1.9 million inhabitants.

It is the first time that a majority of the opposition parties came together in the more than half a century history of the West African nation’s statehood. Nearly a million voters are expected to cast their ballots in a poll that is described as President Yahya Jammeh’s toughest challenge yet.

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

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