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Gambia ruling party wins local elections

Gambia’s ruling party won more than half the constituencies in the first local elections since longtime former ruler Yahya Jammeh left the west African country more than a year ago, the electoral commission said Friday.

Local councils had been dominated by Jammeh’s former party, the APRC, but President Adama Barrow’s United Democratic Party (UDP) won 62 of the country’s 120 constituencies in the Thursday vote, said Alieu Momar Njie, head of the Independent Electoral Commission.

The opposition Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) came second with 23 constituencies, followed by the APRC with 18, said Alieu Momar Njie, head of the Independent Electoral Commission.

The rest of the constituencies were split between smaller parties and independent candidates.

The UDP, formerly Gambia’s longtime opposition, won an absolute majority in parliamentary elections in April, easily defeating Jammeh’s party which has been cast into the electoral wilderness by his departure.

Jammeh was ousted by Barrow in a December 2016 presidential election, a result which the defeated leader fought for weeks until the threat of a regional military intervention.

Jammeh, who ruled the west African country for 22 years and was accused of rampant corruption and human rights abuses, is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

The last local elections, in 2013, were largely boycotted by the opposition.

AFP

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