afrol News, 26 January - It has become yet another party time for The Gambia's ruling party that won the Thursday's legislative polls in a landslide. President Yahya Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic, Reorientation and Construction (APRC) succeeded in snatching the seats of strong opposition lawmakers, according to official results. In total, APRC won 42 of the 48 seats.
President Jammeh is further mandated to nominate five unelected members to seal the 53-member house.
The biggest opposition party, United Democratic Party (UDP), won only four seats but lost its key stronghold of Jarra. While the National Reconciliation Party failed to win a single seat, the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD) secured one. But the surprises of all was that an independent candidate won by a wide margin in the only opposed constituency of the ruling party dominated region.
The ruling party had earlier campaigned to win all the seats so that it would continue maintain its absolute majority in parliament. Although the party was down by three seats, it still enjoys parliamentary majority.
The intimidation and harassment of opposition candidates by the government and a split within the opposition have all given the ruling party fire to bolster its electoral ambition.
"I am very, very confident that if we had a political alliance of the various parties most people would have voted for the opposition us," the leader of NADD, Halifa Sallah, who lost his Serekunda Central seat, concurred.
Like just at the presidential polls, the voter turn out was below 50 percent.
"If you look at the results there is real gross voter apathy. It may be the basis for re-evaluation of politics in the country," Mr Sallah said, adding that he had planned to spend much of his future time to write books.
President Jammeh, who came to power through the barrel of the gun in 1994, won a third term in office last September. He polled 67 percent of the results against 27 and 6 percents of Mr Ousainou Darboe and Halifa Sallah of UDP and NADD respectively.
Mr Darboe described the elections as a "sham" and contested its outcome in court. This was thrown out of the window after the judge blamed Mr Darboe of not showing interest in the case.
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