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Gambians head to polls to choose parliament under new leader

Gambian President Adama Barrow flashes a V sign after a meeting with France's President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris Wednesday

The party of Gambia's new president won a comfortable majority of seats in parliament after two decades of domination by the party of former leader Yahya Jammeh, the Independent Electoral Commission announced Friday.

Political parties that support Barrow won an additional combined 11 seats, while two opposition parties obtained 10 seats.

24 candidates are contesting the election on the ticket of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), the People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has 22 candidates, while 41 people are contesting the election as independent candidates.

The landscape of Gambian politics has shifted dramatically since the last legislative elections in 2012, when Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) took 43 seats, with a large number of them uncontested because of an opposition boycott.

Five extra places are appointed by the president, for a total of 58 seats in the legislative chamber, which was long derided as a rubber stamp for Jammeh's executive orders.

About 886,000 registered voters cast their votes on Thursday, according to Njai, disappointed by the lower than 42 percent turnout.

The post Barrow's party wins Gambia parliamentary election appeared first on Vanguard News.

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"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", said Fatou Suwareh, who was waiting in line to vote on the outskirts of Banjul.

Voters slowly headed to the polls Thursday April.

"We have done a good work during the electoral campaign".

Anna Stelle, 69, a former APRC supporter, said she had switched to the GDC, along with many other former Jammeh followers. Analysts said the results reveal the deep anger felt by Jammeh's critics at the actions of the past regime.

The election attracted dozens of observers from the African Union, European Union and officials of the regional economic bloc ECOWAS.

Jammeh sparked a political and constitutional crisis by refusing to leave office following his defeat in the December 2016 presidential election. It also assures that Barrow can move ahead with promised transitions toward greater freedoms.

West African troops remain in The Gambia three months after Jammeh's departure, and will stay until Barrow is satisfied that security service reforms have removed rogue elements. "What I am seeing is openness of the democratic process".