Opposition candidate leads vote count in Gambia

Opposition candidate, Adama Barrow, is in the lead after almost 75 per cent of votes had been counted in Gambian presidential voting, threatening President Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year-rule, the electoral commission said on Friday.

Mr. Barrow, who has the support of seven political parties, has won 22 out of 53 constituencies or 138,148 votes in Thursday’s presidential polls.

According to the commission, incumbent Mr. Jammeh won 14 out of 53 constituencies or 126,587 votes.

Report says the election is won by a simple majority in the poverty-stricken West African nation, which largely relies on peanut exports for trade income.

Gambians on Thursday voted amid a shutdown of all internet and telephone lines, which raised fears of Mr. Jammeh planning to hijack the election.

Meanwhile, the lines were expected to remain disconnected until Sunday.

Mr. Jammeh, a former army colonel who came to power during a 1994 military coup, has been ruling the Islamic Republic with an iron fist.

He is running for a fifth five-year term against two other candidates.

The two candidates are Mr. Barrow, a businessman popular with the country’s largely unemployed youth and Mama Kandeh, the leader of the Gambia Democratic Congress, the only opposition party that did not join forces with Mr. Barrow.

Ironically, all three candidates were born in the same year, 1965.

However, the capital, Banjul, remained calm on Friday, in spite of a heavy security force presence.

(dpa/NAN)

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