Gambia president’s party takes majority in parliament
By Abdoulie John and Mustapha Jallow
AP April 7 at 5:50 AM
BANJUL, Gambia — The party of Gambia’s new president won a majority of seats in parliament after two decades of domination by the party of former leader Yahya Jammeh, the Independent Electoral Commission announced Friday.
President Adama Barrow’s United Democratic Party won 31 seats in the 53-seat National Assembly. The results mean Barrow can move ahead with promised transitions toward greater freedoms.
Barrow, who beat Jammeh in December elections, has promised a path toward reconciliation in this tiny West African country. Jammeh’s government was long accused of rights abuses.
The former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party was reduced to five seats, according to results read out by IEC chair Alieu Momarr Njai. He called the vote free and fair.
Various parties that together backed Barrow in the December election but ran separately on Thursday won remaining seats.
While more than 880,000 voters were registered to vote, turnout was low. A total of 10 political parties took part in the National Assembly elections.
Gambia’s more than 1.8 million people were ruled for 22 years by Jammeh, whose refusal to leave power brought regional countries to the brink of a military intervention. His flight into exile in January was a dramatic moment for many in Africa, where a number of leaders have clung to power for decades.