On Friday, April 13, electoral officials announced that the United Democratic Party (UDP), the party of President Adama Barrow, won the most seats in the municipal elections that were held Thursday, April 12. The UDP won 62 of the country’s 120 seats, the Gambia Democratic Congress (GD) came second with 23 seats, and the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), the party of former President Yahya Jammeh, came in third with 18 seats. These were the first local elections in the country since the end of Jammeh’s 22-year rule in 2017. While clashes occurred between supporters of the UDP and the ARPC during campaigning, officials have stated that the elections were peaceful and conducted in a fair and transparent manner.
Tensions have been high in Gambia since the highly contested December 2016 elections. In January 2017, then-President Jammeh declared a three-month state of emergency, pushing thousands of Gambian residents to flee the country amid fears of violent unrest ahead of the presidential handover. Following weeks of political tensions across the country due to Jammeh’s refusal to concede defeat after losing the December 2016 presidential election, he finally went into exile in Equatorial Guinea on January 21, 2017.
Those present in Gambia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid politically sensitive discussions in public, avoid any demonstrations due to the risk of violence, and follow the instructions of local authorities or their home governments.