Low voter turnout in Gambia’s parliamentary polls

Low voter turnout in Gambia’s parliamentary polls

Voter turnout in Gambia’s parliamentary election dipped compared to the turnout for the presidential polls while there are more candidates seeking to become National Assembly Members than ever before.

“Jammeh was a determining factor which encouraged some people to vote and now that he is gone they are not really motivated,” Pierre Gomez from The Gambia University told the BBC.

Jammeh was flushed out of power by West African troops and fled to Equatorial Guinea after sparking a political standoff. The longtime autocratic ruler refused to cede power to the winner of the presidential election, Adama Barrow.

Gambians turned out in large numbers to vote Jammeh out in December after he brutally suppressed opposition protests killing some activists, marginalizing Christians and threatening genocide against the largest ethnic group, the Mandinkas.

“The turnout for the presidential elections was much higher than this morning’s parliamentary election… It is a slow start,” Omar Gitteh, an election official at country’s economic capital, Serrekunda, told Anadolu Agency.

The opposition, which united to ousted Jammeh had boycotted parliamentary and local government elections in 2012, giving Jammeh an easy majority in the National Assembly.

The coalition that supported Barrow collapsed after leaders were unable to agree on running as a united front or on a tactical alliance. The divided unity government faces a real challenge from the youth-led GDC, whose presidential nominee, Mama Kandeh came third in the December elections.

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