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Gambia president’s new party sets sights on December vote

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President Adama Barrow. Photo; freedomnewspaper

Gambian president Adama Barrow said a new political party he set up just over a year ago was prepared to represent all Gambians in an election scheduled for December.

Addressing delegates and supporters of his National People’s Party late Saturday at a stadium in Bakau, about 12 kilometres (seven miles) outside the Gambian capital, Barrow said the party was there “for all Gambian citizens. It is the party for all categories of people”.

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The NPP would offer “alternatives to rescue the Gambian citizens whose talents and potentials have been wasted, untapped or ruthlessly exploited for decades,” the 55-year-old president pledged.

“The reality is that I cannot abandon you, nor can I betray your trust.”

While Barrow, who has led the country since January 2017, has not explicitly said recently that he would run as a candidate in the December 4 vote, political observers in the tiny West African nation have no doubt that he will.

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Barrow formally registered the NPP, with himself as leader, in December 2019 in a move seen as a way for him to contest future elections unhindered.

Barrow became president when he defeated former autocrat Yahya Jammeh — who had ruled for 22 years — in elections in 2016. 

His victory was secured after a coalition of parties agreed to back him on condition that Barrow quit his United Democratic Party to stand as an independent, and step down after three years of leading an interim government. 

Since then, however, Barrow reneged on the promise, serving the full five-year term allowed under the constitution instead, sparking sometimes violent protests. 

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