Gambia: EU calls for extensive legal reform for dev't of democracy in Gambia

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The European Union Election Observer Mission to the Gambia has said extensive legal reforms and continued civic education will be critical for the country's democratic development under president Adama Barrow.

The Chief Observer, Miroslav Poche, Member of the European Parliament, on Friday said in its final report on the Gambia's 2 December, 2016 election that “goodwill on behalf of the people and institutions of the Gambia provided for the restoration of key democratic rights”.

The election saw the victory of Adama Barrow over long-serving President Yahaya Jammeh.

He said EU EOM concluded that the broad trust in the Gambia Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) coupled with a genuine political competition offset the notable shortcoming in the electoral legal framework.

He added that the engaging and peaceful campaign was followed by an orderly Election Day.

However, Mr Poche said, the collation of results lacked transparency and significant differences as to the number of voters per constituency impacted on the equality of the vote.

He further observed that the media strove to equip voters with knowledge crucial to making informed choices, and organised debates between candidates. A genuine editorial   independence of the public broadcaster is, however, yet to be achieved.

Mr Poche said the elections were a decisive step in Gambia’s democratic transition, adding that the European Union, as a friend and a partner of the Gambia, stands ready to support the efforts of the authorities and other electoral stakeholders to follow up on the recommendations.

“It is important to strengthen the institutional independence of the IEC by establishing an inclusive mechanism for the selection and appointment of the IEC Chairperson and Commissioners by ensuring the security of the IEC Commissioner’s tenure, and by providing the IEC with full sovereignty over its budget,” he said.
-0- PANA MSS/MA 29Sept2017

29 september 2017 15:21:40

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