Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gambia parliamentary election

Gambia held parliamentary elections in April.

The United Democratic Party (UDP) won a majority of seats (31/53) with 37% of the vote. President Barrow was a member of the UDP, but ran for president as an independent, with support from the UDP and six other parties.

In the previous election, in 2012, UDP and several other parties had boycotted, so a majority of seats was held by the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), which supported former president Jammeh. In April's election the APRC won just 5 seats. Other members of the Coalition that supported Barrow include the People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), which won 4 seats, and the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), which won 5 seats.

Gambia update - President Barrow inaugurated in February

I've been neglecting the blog for almost 6 months!

Time to do a little catch-up.

The last time I wrote about Gambia was January 3rd. (Now former-) President Jammeh had accepted his electoral loss to (current) President Barrow, and then changed his mind and decided he had won after all, and was defiant toward ECOWAS, saying if they tried to invade, the country would defend itself.

Nonetheless, ECOWAS troops (primarily from Senegal, Gambia's only neighbor) entered Gambia on January 19.  Jammeh declared a state of emergency but didn't put up much of a fight - he "filed an application with Gambia's Supreme Court to prevent Barrow being sworn in." That didn't work too well - Barrow was first inaugurated as president in the Gambia embassy in Senegal, and then after Jammeh agreed to step down on January 21 (after stealing $11 million in the intervening two weeks), President Barrow was inaugurated in Gambia in February.

Gambia was the last ECOWAS country to be considered Not Free by FreedomHouse. Although ECOWAS is an economic union and does not have a mandate to remove leader's from power, the union's treaty includes an article that authorizes members to intervene to maintain stability. When Jammeh ignored the election outcome, ECOWAS members stepped in to establish order, which required Jammeh to accept the electoral results.