S&D praise smooth running of elections in Gambia

S&Ds call for the release of all political protesters ahead of presidential elections in Gambia, Richard Howitt, David Martin, Human rights,

Cecile Kyenge, S&D vice-president of the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Marie Arena, S&D co-ordinator of the Delegation were among the Euro MPs observing the recent Gambian elections. The delegation of the European Parliament undertook an election observation mission to Gambia to observe the parliamentary elections, which took place on 6 April 2017, only four months after the installation in office of President Adama Barrow after 22 years of Yahya Jammeh's dictatorship.

The members of the delegation noted that the elections run in a very smooth and peaceful manner. They commended the administration for successfully organising the elections, despite the very limited timeframe available and the precarious financial situation of the country on the Election Day. Moreover, they put emphasis on the positive role played by polling stations officials, observers from political parties and the police.

The EU EOM to the Gambia was led by Miroslav Poche, S&D, who had been nominated as Chief Observer by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini.

S&D MEP Cécile Kyenge said:

“Regarding the financing of the political parties, we recommend that in the future a regulatory framework is created to put all candidates on a level playing field and also being able to identify where their funds come from. This will also help strengthen the role of political parties.

“We also see a need for a strong media regulation in order to ensure balanced coverage, notably during the electoral campaigns. We stand ready to further develop our relations with the country soon after the elections.”

 

S&D MEP Marie Arena added:

“We have seen that women in Gambia have participated in large number as voters, as well as in the organisation and observation of the elections. This is very positive. However, as only three women out of 53 candidates were elected, we would strongly encourage more women to take part as candidates in the future.

In addition to this, we highly recommend that capacity building assistance is offered to the newly elected Parliament as its role will be of utmost importance for the consolidation the democratic process in the country.”

Ahead of the Election Day, the delegation met with the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Trade, as well as with leaders of political parties. The MEPs also had the opportunity to meet with civil society organisations, representatives from the media, youth associations and institutions.