The party of Gambian President Adama Barrow secured a slim victory in legislative elections on Sunday, but fell short of the required majority to govern the West African country alone.
According to results released by The Gambia’s independent electoral commission, Barrow’s National People’s Party won 19 of the 53 parliamentary seats up for grabs, upsetting the main opposition United Democratic Party’s majority.
The president has the power to appoint the five other members, including the speaker of parliament, who will be chosen from his party in the coming days, but he lacks an absolute majority in the 58-seat body.
The UDP won 15 seats, while independents came in third with 11.
Barrow secured a second term in office after defeating Ousainou Darboe with 53 percent of the vote in last year’s presidential election, the country’s first open handover of power since Yahya Jammeh’s dictatorship.
His surprise victory in the 2017 presidential election put an end to Jammeh’s two-decade dictatorship marked by state crimes.
According to local media, voter turnout at the legislative elections was low, compared to the December 2021 election. A national figure has not been published by the election commission.On Thursday, the new parliament will be sworn in.
Barrow, 57, is dealing with a slew of issues, including rising prices, shortages, national reconciliation, and anti-corruption efforts.
He promised to make constitutional changes by the end of his tenure, but the outgoing parliament rejected a draft constitution that would restrict the president to two terms in September 2020.
Barrow has also been challenged to respond to suggestions made by a commission that looked into state crimes perpetrated during the Jammeh era.
The Gambia is a small West African country, bounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline. It’s known for its diverse ecosystems around the central Gambia River. Abundant wildlife in its Kiang West National Park and Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve includes monkeys, leopards, hippos, hyenas and rare birds. The capital, Banjul, and nearby Serrekunda offer access to beaches.
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