Gambian president-elect Adama Barrow poses for a photo after an exclusive interview with Reuters in Banjul, Gambia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Parties backing Gambia’s President Barrow sweep legislative polls

Four of the seven political parties backing Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow have won 42 out of 53 seats in the country’s National Assembly elections held on Thursday.

The election which attracted a low turnout was the small West African nation’s first polls since the fall of its strongman Yahya Jammeh in the 2016 December 1 presidential elections.

Barrow’s party from where he resigned to contest as an independent presidential candidate, the United Democratic Party, has won 31 seats, while other 3 parties within the coalition won a total of 11 seats, giving them 42 seats in total.

Former president Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party has won 5 seats all in his native region of Foni in the Western Region of Gambia.

The opposition Gambia Democratic Congress party also won 5 seats, leaving 1 seats to an independent candidate, Muhammed Magassey of Basse Santa-su

“UDP won 31 seats, APRC won 5 seats, GDC won 5 seats, PPP won 2 seats and there was one independent candidate who was successful,” IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai said on Friday.

The results show a sharp decline in the popularity of the APRC from being the majority in the National Assembly to one of the minorities.

Barrow and his team of coalition leaders have promised a host of constitutional and legal reforms and this election victory is expected to be a massive boost to them.

There were nine political parties with a record 239 registered candidates who campaigned for 53 seats in country’s parliamentary elections.

Five seats are to be appointed by the president, totaling 58 spots in the small nation’s parliament.

The small country of about 2 million people has 886,000 registered voters, IEC said.

The elections was monitored by dozens of observers from the African Union, European Union and officials of the regional economic bloc, ECOWAS.

Gambia has come under the spotlight since its rocky political transition in December which triggered regional military intervention in the country following Jammeh’s refusal to cede power.

(Mustapha Darboe is a Gambian blogger for The Torch and reports for the Anadolu News Agency)

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