Gambia’s president says his government is fully funding elections

Gambia’s president says his government is fully funding elections

President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia said Thursday that the West African nation is not getting international financial backing for the country’s upcoming presidential elections, for the second time.

Jammeh, 51, is seeking a fifth mandate and formalized his bid with the country’s Independent Electoral Commission accompanied by thousands of party supporters and members of the country’s armed and security forces.

“They already know who is going to win and no matter what, I am going to win. Again, this is the second election that nobody is financing except the government entirely and 100 percent” Jammeh said.

Jammeh is facing a challenge from a former lawmaker from his ruling APRC party and an opposition leader backed by seven other parties in the December 1 polls. He has vowed to remain in power even after losing polls in a televised statement last week.

Relations between Jammeh’s government and key funding partners like the European Union have strained. Gambian officials declined to meet EU parliamentary delegates who threatened to impose sanctions on the nation if human rights situations continue to deteriorate in September.

International observers ruled past presidential elections in The Gambia as not free and fair, with the sub-regional body ECOWAS ruling in 2011 that there was “an unacceptable level of control of the electronic media by the party in power… and an opposition and electorate cowed by repression and intimidation.”

President Yahya Jammeh this year came under pressure to resign after protests erupted around the country. At least two opposition activists have since died following a crackdown on activists demanding electoral reform and the return of the remains of a senior opposition member tortured to death in custody.

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