The president of Gambia's Independent Electoral Commission, Alieu Momarr Mjiar, announces presidential election results in Banjul, Gambia, December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Gambia heads back to the polls in two months

Gambians are going back to drop their marbles in a metal box filled with sawdust at the bottom, not to have fresh presidential elections as demanded by former President Yahya Jammeh, but to elect members of parliament and local government leaders.

The West African nation’s electoral commission announced on Tuesday it will hold National Assembly elections on April 6, 2017, and local government elections on April 12 of next year.

Gambia’s electoral chief Alieu Mommar Njie found his life at risk after declaring President Adama Barrow the winner of the presidential elections. Njie fled the Gambia to Senegal and returned after Jammeh was fled to Equatorial Guinea.

The electoral commission was besieged by forces loyal to Jammeh for weeks after Jammeh called for fresh elections to be held citing irregularities in the initial polls.

Njie has been hailed as a hero by Gambians for standing his ground and upholding the results of the polls, in which the 22-year longstanding ruler Yahya Jammeh was defeated.

Jammeh’s APRC won 43 of the 48 National Assembly seats in 2012. The opposition then, now the ruling coalition boycotted the polls citing unfavorable electoral laws and conditions that would make the polls not free or fair.

APRC is now the main opposition party has little chance no real chance of retaining any of its seats. Many may seek parliamentary positions under independent tickets.

The APRC shows no sign of giving up and announced it will contest the parliamentary and local government polls hoping to pull the kind of surprise victory that brought Adama Barrow to power.

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