APRC secures 43 seats in the National Assembly
Monday, April 02, 2012
The ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) has registered another landmark election victory, securing at least 43 seats in the National Assembly. The party went unopposed in 25 constituencies in the country, and swept 18 out of the 23 constituencies it contested with independent candidates and those from the opposition National Reconciliation Party (NRP) in the March 29th National Assembly Elections held on Thursday.
The chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Alhaji Mustapha Carayol officially declared the 25 unopposed candidates of the governing party as duly elected members of the National Assembly at around 10:30pm on Thursday, before commencing the announcement of the results of the contested constituencies, an exercise that lasted till early Friday morning.
The verdict paved the way for the ruling party to secure a majority in the Legislature for a fourth consecutive time. Meanwhile, the party’s leader, who is the president of the Republic, is empowered by the constitution to nominate five members into the National Assembly.
Ruling party’s confidence
Even before and on the polling day, the ruling party was confident of sweeping the to maintain its majority in the parliament.
“We are going to sweep all the development-oriented constituencies and any constituency that votes for the opposition, thank you very much until another election,” stated the leader of the ruling party, and the president of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh shortly after exercising his franchise at the July 22nd Square in Banjul.
The opposition National Reconciliation Party that turned a deaf ear to the call by the six main opposition parties in the country to boycott the parliamentary polls fielded eight candidates to contest the polls. While it secured one seat in the Assembly after its candidate in Niamina Dankunku wrestled down the APRC candidate by a margin of 251 votes, the party’s leader, Hamat N.K Bah, who was very keen to reclaim the Upper Saloum seat suffered a major shock when his long-time political rival, the APRC’s Sainey Mbaye edged past him for a third time with a vote difference of 337, even though an independent candidate managed to get 728 votes. That notwithstanding, the NRP can boast of being the only opposition party in the new National Assembly.
The March 29th election was hotly contested by 18 independent candidates across the country. Four out of that number managed to secure a seat in the National Assembly, barring veteran APRC candidates from being re-elected into the Legislative House. The ruling party’s strongmen, Sellu Bah of Basse Constituency, Yerrow Mballow of Lower Fulladu West, Abdou Jarju of Kombo Central, and Ebrima Manneh of Niani respectively lost to independent candidates in the persons ofMuhammed Magassy, Omar Tobb, Buba Ayi Sanneh, and Demba B.T Sambou.
Unlike the Presidential Election that registered a 83 percent voter turnout, the March 29th National Assembly Election saw a significant drop to 50.2. Political analysts have described it as not impressive in that it has failed to consolidate the gains made in addressing the issue of voter apathy in the Presidential Elections. Various reasons have been advanced for this.
“Lack of sensitisation could be attributed to this and the fact that people are complacent that the Presidential Election is more important than the National Assembly,” said Mayor Yankuba Colley, the APRC national mobiliser, who was reacting to the low turnout at Thursday’s electoral exercise during an interview with the Daily Observer Friday evening.
Reacting to the general outcome, the APRC’s s said he is happy that his party maintained a majority in the parliament once again.
“That is all about democracy. We went out for all the seats but we lost only five out of the 48, which in fact shows our strength and the fact that our party is very strong. In all the other areas that we lost, we know that we are strong there. Looking at everything, it shows that the boycott by the opposition does not affect us,” Colley stated in an elated mood.
For the IEC, the voter turnout in this National Assembly Election was satisfactory. Its chairman, Alhaji Mustapha Carayol has this to say to the Daily Observer Sunday during a brief telephone interview.
“We are happy with the 50 percent voter turnout registered in this election. It is a big achievement compared to the last 2007 National Assembly when the voter turnout was below 50 percent,” he said.
Read the full list of the election results on page 14 & 17.
Author: by Hatab Fadera