IEC chairman, Alhaji Momar Njie

The Gambia’s political space is set to get crowded as more political parties joined the fray. At least 30 requests to form political parties have been received by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) according to its chairman, Alieu Momar Njie.

Mr. Njie confirmed that his office has received these requests from Gambians on the process of political party registration ahead of the 2021 elections.

He told a delegation of the National Assembly Select Committee on Local Government, Lands, IEC and Ombudsman on Monday, May 13, that due to the favourable political environment, his office is expecting to register several new political parties before the next general elections.

Mr. Njie said that there are at the moment 10 registered political parties out of which one is banned.

“We are expecting 5 to 10 new political parties before the 2021 election year,” he said.

He pointed out that his commission had plans to reform the Gambia’s old election system. He said it won’t be business as usual for the next general elections.  

Among the proposed changes, the IEC is seeking to conduct the presidential and parliamentary elections and mayoral, chairperson and councillors all at the same date for the next general elections.

However he said in other to do that the country has to move from the current ballot drums system of voting to ballot paper system of voting.

He said the country has to change its old electoral system before the next elections to ensure transparent, free and fair elections.  

“The election laws must be change or amended before we go for the next elections” Mr. Njie said.

He said the IEC needs resources and funds to be able to oversee these proposed changes to the electoral system.

Mr Njie said that his commission will be engaging Gambians at home and abroad on the proposed electoral changes.

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