Vote counting gets underway in the Gambia
Gambians voted in their first presidential election since former tyrant Yahya Jammeh fled into exile on Saturday, and counting began on Sunday.
Early results in the one-round presidential election might be released as early as Sunday, after voting ended at 5:00 p.m. (1700 GMT). With counting already underway, early results in the one-round presidential election could be published as early as Sunday.
The election is being widely watched as a test of The Gambia’s democratic transition after Jammeh seized power in a bloodless coup in 1994 and governed for 22 years.
After being defeated at the vote box by Adama Barrow, a relative unknown at the time, the ex-autocrat was driven into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017.
President Barrow, who is 56 years old, is up for re-election against five other contenders.
As he voted near the presidential palace, he predicted “the biggest landslide victory in the history of this country,” saying “in the next 24 hours my people will be celebrating in the streets”.
Polls opened at 0800 GMT, with long lines forming well before dawn in the capital Banjul.
Nearly 500 people lined up around the block at a market in the Banjul neighbourhood of Manjai Kunda, ready for hours of waiting.
“I expect that people vote peacefully,” said voter Alice Jarjue, 27.
“Gambia is a peaceful country and we should maintain it that way. If another one (than your candidate) wins, you should respect that.”
Babacar Diallo, 48, lined up early to vote.
“It is a very important to vote because we want change,” he said. “The times have been hard, the economy is bad.”