Panafrican News Agency

Gambia election marked by wide voter participation, citizen group engagement: EU

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) says that last Saturday's presidential election in Gambia was marked by wide voter participation and citizen group engagement.

Norbert Neuser, Chief Observer, said this marks a democratic headway, although fundamental legal reform remains a key concern.

The EU EOM's preliminary statement said on 4 December Gambian citizens showed their strong desire to be part of the democratic process by participating in the election in great numbers.

This built on the commitment of civil society throughout the election period, Neuser added.

“EU EOM observers noted positively the transparency of the voting and counting process on Election Day. This was in contrast, however, to the opaque approach of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) at the central level during the pre-election period,” stated Neuser.

According to him on Election Day, EU observers reported from over 128 polling stations in rural and urban areas in all seven administrative areas.

“The Election Day was found to be peaceful. While polling officials carried out the process professionally. Some procedural gaps were noted during the voting and counting, which if not addressed could provide the possibility for misuse in future."

Neuser said the tabulation was accessible, and results were announced progressively by the constituencies, which promoted transparency, although disaggregated polling station results were not published.

The Chief Observer noted that structural deficiencies and critical procedural and legal gaps require fundamental reform.

-0- PANA MSS/MA 7Dec2021