The Gambia to hold presidential election

The Gambia holds presidential elections today. Gambian president Adama Barrow is running for reelection following the 2016 defeat of his

Gambia to hold presidential election

Photo: AFP file

The Gambia holds presidential elections today.

Gambian president Adama Barrow is running for reelection following the 2016 defeat of his long-tenured predecessor, Yahya Jammeh. Barrow made progress towards national reconciliation following Jammeh’s departure, returning the country to the Commonwealth and International Criminal Court. Regardless of Barrow’s efforts, protesters called for honoring his pledge to resign in 2019 three years into his five-year term.

By running, Barrow is breaking another pledge not to stand for reelection. His National People’s Party (NPP) is also allied this election with Jammeh’s party, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).

Damage to Barrow’s democratic credibility and political legitimacy following the discarded pledges will likely be exacerbated by the NPP’s alliance with Jammeh’s APRC, who resisted Barrow’s 2016 electoral victory. Whether Barrow will defeat his main competitor, Ousainou Darboe, is unclear given the youth who protested his reelection decision will likely decide today’s vote. Barrow’s victory would indicate public satisfaction with efforts to move beyond the Jammeh-era but set The Gambia down a familiar path of uninterrupted, long-term leaders. Conversely, Darboe’s victory would represent a rejection of Barrow’s old-school tactics, but risk creating a power vacuum in a country guided by strongmen.

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