Gambia await presidential election result as Barrow seeks second term | News

Results were announced from 15 constituencies out of the country’s 53, showing the incumbent’s early progress.

Incumbent President Adama Barrow shows an early advantage as Gambians wait to see the winner in their first presidential election since former strongman Yahya Jammeh fled into exile.

The state broadcaster has published the results of 15 electoral districts out of 53 in the country online since polls closed at 17:00 GMT on Saturday.

Ahmed Idris, Al Jazeera correspondent, from the capital, Banjul, said that more results are expected in the coming hours.

“Before the end of the day, we will know the winner. A simple majority is enough for any of the six candidates to win,” Idris said.

The elections are closely watched as a test of democratic transition in The Gambia, where Jammeh ruled for 22 years after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1994.

Jammeh was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 after he was defeated by Adama Barrow, then-relatively unknown, at the ballot box.

Barrow, 56, faces five challengers in his re-election bid.

Several factors slowed this outcome, including The Gambia’s scarce financial resources, high turnout and the country’s unusual voting system.

Illiteracy is widespread in The Gambia, so voters cast their ballots by throwing a piece of marble into a basin bearing the color and image of their candidate – a practice that dates back to the country’s past as a British colony.

Many of the nearly one million eligible voters in the country of more than two million people hope to improve their standards of living.

Barrow operates on a continuity card, noting the infrastructure projects completed under his supervision, as well as increasing civil liberties.

Veteran political observers consider Osino Darboe the main opposition candidate.

The 73-year-old is a lawyer like Jammeh’s opponent, and has run for president against the former strongman multiple times.

He also served as Secretary of State and then Vice President under Barrow, before stepping down in 2019.

Jammeh lost to Barrow in the 2016 elections, but was only finally removed by military intervention from other West African countries.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo