Barrow: It will be difficult to say polls will be free and fair

Barrow: It will be difficult to say polls will be free and fair

A presidential hopeful in The Gambia’s elections said Monday he is unsure if the country’s presidential elections will be free and fair.

Speaking to the Radio France International, Adama Barrow, who is backed by a coalition of seven opposition parties and an independent candidate said: “it will be difficult to tell if the elections will be free and fair, but we expect it to better than the previous ones.”

Barrow, 51, is a businessman and realtor and a member of the main opposition United Democratic Party.

Barrow, however, said the coalition has been campaigning across the small country freely without any incidences or restrictions, although the government has failed to provide them with security from the police or the armed forces.

Gambian parliamentarians passed laws in last year tightening electoral rules. The new regulations are favorable to the incumbent, according to opposition leaders.

Six opposition parties boycotted parliamentary and local government polls in 2011 after the ECOWAS ruled that the presidential polls were not free or fair.

At least two opposition activists have died in pre-electoral violence after riot police used excessive force to disperse pro-electoral reform protesters at Westfield Square, outside the capital, Banjul.

Three former ruling party supporters have also been arrested ahead of the run-up and remain in detention without charges and only the African Union may be monitoring the polls after EU was denied credentials and the ECOWAS boycotting for the second time.

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