Wednesday, June 7

LG election: Low voter turnout concerns observers, politicians

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According to the CSO Coalition on Election, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced 367 candidates for the election comprising 299 party candidates, 68 independent, 58 women candidates and 4 candidates with disabilities. Following nominations, the observers reported that there was one withdrawal, one objection and one rejection.

According to local observers, out of the 962,157 votes registered, only 243,899 voted, indicating a very low turnout.

“The elections register remains with 962,157 registered voters of which 57% are females and 43% male. Fifty-seven per cent (57%) of the registered voters are youths between 18 and 35 years. The election is being held in 1554 polling stations and 53 constituencies in the seven (7) regions of The Gambia,” CSOs stated.

Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council told the press that the low voter turnout is usual in local government elections. He added that Presidential elections normally have more turnouts, followed by Parliamentary elections and then the local government.

“I think Gambians don’t know the importance of local government elections and their understanding of councillor elections is low. The turnout of the councillor elections should have been more because it’s about the wards and directly impacting our lives. I call Gambians to always vote in their large numbers in order to decide their representatives,” he stated after casting his vote in Kanifing.

Ahmed Gitteh, aspiring Brikama Chairmanship candidate and mayor of Banjul, Rohey Malick Lowe, both dwelled on the low voter turnout while urging for more participation.