Seven Gambian opposition parties select single candidate

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Seven Gambian opposition parties have on Sunday formed a coalition and chose a single candidate who will challenge the Incumbent President Yahya Jammeh in the country’s coming presidential elections slated for December 1.

Adama Barrow, the leader of Gambia’s main opposition party, United Democratic Party, has won the convention with 308 votes of the entire votes cast.

“I am overwhelmed and will work with the opposition and the Gambian people to make The Gambia a better place for all of us,” Barrow said in an acceptance speech at a convention of seven opposition parties.

The national convention that chose the leadership invited 490 people randomly selected from all the seven regions of Gambia to vote for their desired leader.

Barrow was selected the UDP leader after the incarceration of Ousainou Darboe who was arrested for staging a demonstration in April demanding the release of his party supporters who were arrested by riot police for holding similar protest earlier.

Other candidates at the convention were Hamat Bah of National Reconciliation Party who got 72, Halifa Sallah of People Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism who got 65 while Lamin Bojang of National Convention Party got 40.

All the four candidates who contested the leadership of the coalition presented their manifestos on what they will do when they are elected before the voting commenced.

The convention agreement is that the coalition president would serve a transition period of 3 years and take the country to election to elect a new leader in which he will not contest.

Gambia has been ruled by only two presidents since independence in 1965 and its second, Yahya Jammeh, will be seeking his fifth term in office.

Gambia has 8 opposition parties with an independent candidate but opposition Gambia Democratic Party and the independent candidate, Dr Isatou Touray, abandoned the talks after it started.

However, the Independent candidate later issued a press release explaining that she will “stand in solidarity with the opposition to ensure that Gambia regains her democratic credentials on December 1”.

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