- Over 350,000 Gambians have returned to the polls to elect their local government representatives - exactly a year after the country held national assembly polls. This time voters will elect mayors, municipal chairpersons and councillors.
Already, 56 of the 114 wards have been declared unopposed.
A total of 266 observers have been accredited to monitor the polls, the electoral commission Chairman, Mustapha Carayol, said.
Polls opened at 7 am and close at 4 pm throughout the country. The electoral commission has confirmed the distribution of ballot materials to all the election centers.
“Having drawn lessons from the past elections, the IEC has already recruited, trained and employed 75 assistant returning officers to work in the 59 wards countrywide,” Carayol said.
He noted the importance of local government elections and therefore appealed to voters to vote peacefully.
The elections followed a legal battle between the government and the opposition over the new local government amendment act that gives sweeping powers to fire elected local government officials from office and replace them.
Believing that the amendment contradicted the constitution and an affront to democracy and the rule of law, the main opposition United Democracy Party led other parties to file a suit at the high court, arguing that elections must not hold under such circumstance.
In the end, the Chief Justice ruled against the opposition, ordering the election to go as planned.
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