Gambia's President Barrow takes slim, early lead as vote-tallies continue


People shop at the street market ahead of the presidential election in Banjul, Gambia, December 3, 2021. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

BANJUL (Reuters) -Gambian President Adama Barrow had a narrow early lead after Saturday's presidential election, according to provisional results from the first few constituencies to be verified by the electoral commission.

In a test of stability and democratic progress, the small West African country is holding its first election since former President Yahya Jammeh was voted out of office in 2016, ending 22 years of autocratic rule.

Barrow, a 56-year-old former security guard and property developer, ran against five rivals, including his former political mentor, Ousainou Darboe, 73, who was seen as the main challenger.

Preliminary results from four of the 53 constituencies showed Barrow in the lead with 14,599 votes vs. Darboe's 6,188, the election commission's chairman, Alieu Momarr Njai, said on state television in the early hours of Sunday.

Under the simple majority system, provisional results are expected to be announced later on Sunday with numbers from individual constituencies released in the interim.

Gambia uses a unique voting system - marbles dropped into each candidate's ballot drum - to avoid spoiled ballots in a nation with a high illiteracy rate.

Jammeh, who was defeated by an opposition coalition that backed current President Barrow, fled to Equatorial Guinea in 2017 after refusing to accept defeat https://reut.rs/31oknjP.

Earlier on Saturday, Barrow cast his vote in Banjul and said he was confident of victory.

"I'm happy to see a large turnout from Gambian voters," he said, accompanied by his two wives.

Nearly 1 million people from a population of 2.5 million are registered to vote in Gambia, mainland Africa's smallest country.

"I want to see a better Gambia, a far better Gambia than the previous years," said civil servant Bubacarr Kanteh, 39, outside a polling station.

Other candidates https://reut.rs/3EqrXsH include Essa Mbye Faal, who served as chief counsel of Gambia's Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission that chronicled the abuses of Jammeh's rule, and Mama Kandeh, who came third in 2016 and is backed by Jammeh.

As campaigning wrapped up on Thursday, hundreds of jubilant Barrow supporters gathered in downtown Banjul for a final rally, hoping another Barrow term would secure stability as Gambia seeks to put Jammeh's rule behind it.

Critics, however, say Barrow has broken his promises, pointing to how he backtracked on a pledge to serve only three years after winning in 2016. Barrow has argued the constitution requires him to serve out a full five-year term.

(Reporting by Pap Saine and Bate FelixWriting by Bate Felix and Alessandra PrenticeEditing by David Clarke, Christina Fincher and Jonathan Oatis)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

N.Korea fires suspected ballistic missile - Japan
Horses jump bonfires as Spain's purification ceremony returns after pandemic break
Ahead of election, Macron banks on rosy French economy, new jobs
Who’s watching? How governments used the pandemic to normalise surveillance
Australia, New Zealand step up efforts to aid tsunami-hit Tonga
Biden, Japan PM Kishida to hold bilateral talks on Friday-White House
French parliament approves vaccine pass
U.N. mission in Mali grounds flights amid sanctions restrictions
Anti-vaccine far-right rally attracts hundreds in Hungary
Former Ukraine president defies arrest threat in showdown with successor

Others Also Read


Vouchers