Gambia’s electoral commission threatens to disqualify so-called ‘coalition’ candidates

Gambia’s electoral commission threatens to disqualify so-called ‘coalition’ candidates

The Gambia’s electoral commission warned it will disqualify politicians that are bent on campaigning for office as candidates for President Adama Barrow’s unity government ahead of April’s local government polls.

It is the second election in a little over a year after the defeat of former military-backed strongman, Yahya Jammeh. A parliamentary election held last year saw Jammeh’s party suffering a second humiliating defeat, losing its majority stake in the National Assembly.

During last year’s parliamentary elections, politicians from different parties claimed to be backed by Mr. Barrow. The electoral commission sent desist letters to at least 30 candidates, demanding they cease campaigning as coalition candidates.

“This time, we have a red card waiting for candidates found wanting. We don’t want to see any candidate using materials that have the symbols of Coalition 2016 or President Barrow’s picture as it is wrong, misleading and unacceptable,” electoral chief Alieu Mommar Njie warned.

Although Mr. Barrow toured the country during the parliamentary elections drumming up support for those that may back his policies in parliament, he became president under an independent ticket.

He resigned from his party, the UDP, which has the majority stake in his unity government to lead a coalition of seven opposition parties to give Jammeh a humiliating defeat in the 2016 presidential elections.

All the political parties that have backed Mr. Barrow’s presidency are putting up candidates across the country for the local government race, a poll that will be a test for the UDP’s popularity, especially in suburbs outside the capital, Banjul.

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