A new era for Gambia as country elects new MPs

On Thursday, Gambians cast their first ballot since longtime leader Yahya Jammeh left power to elect lawmakers who could make or break a raft of reforms promised by the new president.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) expressed concerns that fewer voters had appeared to vote in the country that has more than 880000 eligible voters.

“The only way Gambians can consolidate our newfound democracy is for people to ensure they elect competent individuals that will represent them in parliament and help in making the government’s reform agenda a reality,” Fatou Suwareh, who was waiting in line to vote on the outskirts of Banjul told the AFP.

Many Jammeh supporters however were expected to stay at home as his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) recovers from its shock loss in December’s presidential vote.

Internal tensions in the coalition parties that formed to oust Jammeh led to several former opposition parties fielding individual candidates.

President Adama Barrow’s promised overhaul of every aspect of the Gambian state will depend on their willingness of the parties to cooperate in parliament and in cabinet.

Many voters have expressed anger over the coalition’s inability to present a united front.

The Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC), a youth-led party which did not join the governing coalition and whose leader Mama Kandeh came third in last year’s presidential vote has posed a threat.

The African Union, the regional bloc Ecowas and the European Union all sent observers to monitor voters casting their ballots in Gambia.

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