IEC Returning Officer, Joseph Colley.
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By Ramatoulie Jawo
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) began accepting nomination papers for the upcoming Local Government Elections in the Gambia on Thursday, April 28, 2023. The elections are scheduled for May 20, 2023, in the seven Local Administrative Areas of the country.
The first political parties scheduled to file their candidates were the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), the Alliance for National Re-orientation and Development (ANRD), the Citizens’ Alliance (CA), and the All People’s Party (APP). However, neither the APRC nor the ANRD filed mayoral candidates for the Kanifing Administrative Area.
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Returning Officer Joseph Colley, who also serves as the Commission’s Vice Chairperson, updated the media on the situation after waiting for hours without the arrival of the candidates.
Mr. Colley said the parties that were scheduled for the day did not take any form from the Commission.
“You know, if you are dealing with elections, there should be a level playing field. Because we have Nine political parties in the Gambia and in the laws, we have provisions for independent candidates. So that is why we schedule for all the political parties. It is just that the parties that were scheduled for today did not pick up a form. So, meaning there will not be any receipt of nominations for today,” he told Journalists.
Mr. Colley further highlighted some of the criteria one needs to become a mayor or Chairperson of a municipality in the Gambia.
“If one fulfils the criteria for nomination as a councilor, you are fit to run for the Mayoral and Chairmanships. But when it comes to age, there is a bit of difference. Because for the councilors, you should be 21 years old. But for the Mayoral or chairmanship one needs to be at least 30 years,” he said.
Mr. Colley also called on political parties and Independent Candidates to follow due process for a peaceful nomination ahead of the elections.
According to the IEC Schedule, the Democratic Party (DP), Gambia Alliance for National Unity (GANU), Gambia Action Party (GAP), and the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) are expected to file their candidates for nominations across the IEC regional offices in the country on Friday.