Gambia president's party takes majority in parliament

Gambian President Adama Barrow flashes a V sign after a meeting with France's President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris Wednesday

Gambian President Adama Barrow flashes a V sign after a meeting with France's President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris Wednesday

Gambia's ruling party, has won the country's parliamentary election, which held on Thursday.

BANJUL -Gambians voted on Thursday in the first parliamentary elections since long-time leader Yahya Jammeh left power, electing lawmakers who could make or break a raft of reforms promised by the new president.

A coalition of seven parties that supported Mr Barrow during last year's presidential election has collapsed, with candidates from each now competing against each other.

Thursday's vote overcomes two decades of domination by the party of former leader Yahya Jammeh.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the country's electoral commission, Alieu Momarr Njai, has told Anadolu Agency his institution will ensure the integrity of the polls are protected.

The election presents first major political challenge to country's new President Adama Barrow, who is seeking majority in the National Assembly to conduct host of legal and constitutional reforms.

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Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) meanwhile suffered a stunning reversal, going from 48 seats to just five overnight - a result that revealed the deep anger felt by former supporters and critics alike at the actions of the regime.

More than 880,000 Gambians are eligible to vote and polls are open until 5:00pm, with many voters relishing the chance to express varied political opinions after 22 years under Jammeh. His flight into exile in January was a dramatic moment for many in Africa, where a number of leaders have clung to power for decades. "It's increased our confidence and I think in the near future it will be very easy for us to form a government", Dibba said.

24 candidates are contesting the election on the ticket of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), the People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has 22 candidates, while 41 people are contesting the election as independent candidates.

Five extra places are appointed by the president to give a total of 58 seats in the legislative chamber, which was long derided as a rubber stamp for Jammeh's executive orders.

"As we voted for our candidates and they're the majority our suffering has come to an end", she said. "If APRC wants to win back the hearts of Gambians, they need to change the name and color of the party", he said. "What I am seeing is openness of the democratic process".

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