UDP may support an independent candidate—Leader Barrow

The new candidate of the United Democratic Party said they might support a neutral candidate if the talks for a party-led coalition failed. 

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The newly selected candidate of the United Democratic Party has told the Foroyaa newspaper that his party is ready for the backing of an independent candidate should opposition failed to reach a deal on a party-led coalition.

Adama Barrow, 51, said his party will reach out to their opposition colleagues for a possible united front in the coming days, though a UDP-led proposal will likely end in a stalemate or a fragmented groups as it happened in 2011.

“Our proposal is party-led but we have another proposal which is to select someone as an independent candidate. This independent candidate is to be created by the parties and not by a single,” Barrow said.

“The criteria for this independent candidate are a credible person from no affiliated party and trustworthy; that will respect the agreement and if we win then parties go to election in two years.”

The Gambian opposition have several attempts to forming a coalition against President Jammeh since 1996 but all have failed due to dispute over leadership.

UDP, GDC potential stalemate

The chances of Gambian opposition having a party-led coalition might be shattered by the dispute between the UDP and the Gambia Democratic Congress over who among the two parties command much support from Gambians.

The UDP is considered Gambia’s biggest up till today by most Gambian political pundits and journalists, though the GDC claims it has dethrone them as the most popular party.

Mamma Kandeh, the party’s presidential candidate and founder, has told The Torch in an exclusive interview on Monday that he now leads the country’s biggest opposition grouping, GDC.

“Of course I am carrying the majority for now…,” he responded when asked if he would have as a pre-condition that he leads the coalition should opposition reach a deal.

“With or without a coalition, the GDC will win this coming presidential election but our hands are open to every Gambian who sees The Gambia and not individuals,” he added.

Kandeh however said he is “not putting anything on the table”, for his colleagues in pursuit for a coalition “until I hear from them (opposition)”.

Dr Touray: right timing 

Though both UDP and GDC have made no specific commitment to an independent candidate nor do they have it as their primary condition; however, they can all see unity in Dr Isatou Touray.

The women’s rights activist and leading feminist voice in the country will launch her campaign in the race for presidency in Gambia.

Isatou Touray

Dr Isatou Touray

Click the link for Dr Touray’s campaign website: http://www.isatoutouray2016.com/home.html

A women’s rights activist in the Gambia currently campaigning against female genital mutilation has said she will put herself forward as the country’s first-ever female presidential candidate today.

She said she would stand as an independent candidate in the polls, expected to hand incumbent Yahya Jammeh a fifth term at the helm of Gambia.

Now in her sixties, Touray has had a colourful career, winning a US State Department award for empowering Gambian communities.

Touray is currently executive director of leading women’s group the Gambia Committee against Harmful Traditional Practices, which fights to stop female genital mutilation.

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