Sun. May 29th, 2022

Results from 15 of the country’s 53 constituencies have been announced, indicating that the incumbent is taking an early lead.

The established Adama Barrow shows an early advantage while Gambians wait to find out the winner of their first presidential election since former strongman Yahya Jammeh fled into exile.

Results from about 15 of the country’s 53 constituencies have been published online by the state broadcaster since polls closed at 17:00 GMT on Saturday.

Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, who reports from the capital Banjul, says more results are expected in the coming hours.

“Before the end of the day we will know the winner. “A simple majority is enough for any of the six candidates to win,” said Idris.

The election is being closely watched as a test of the democratic transition in Gambia, where Jammeh ruled for 22 years after taking power in a bloodless coup in 1994.

Jammeh was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 after Adama Barrow, then a relatively unknown, defeated him at the ballot box.

Barrow, 56, faces five challengers in his re-election bid.

Several factors delayed the count, including Gambia’s scarce financial resources, high turnout and the country’s unusual voting system.

Illiteracy is widespread in Gambia, so voters cast their ballots by dropping a marble in a bathtub marked with their candidate’s color and photo – a practice dating back to the country’s past as a British colony.

Many of the approximately one million eligible voters in the country of more than two million people are hoping for an improvement in their living standards.

Barrow walks on a continuity map, pointing to infrastructure projects completed under his supervision, as well as increased civil liberties.

Political veteran Ousainou Darboe is considered by observers to be the leading opposition candidate.

The 73-year-old is a lawyer who represented opponents of Jammeh, and who ran for president against the former strongman several times.

He also served as Secretary of State and then Vice President under Barrow, before retiring in 2019.

Jammeh lost to Barrow in the 2016 election, but was only finally removed by military intervention from other West African states.

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