The Gambia’s incumbent president, Adama Barrow, was on pace for a landslide election victory on Sunday, according to preliminary results, which might help to put an end to the country’s recent political instability.
Saturday’s election was the first in 27 years without disgraced former President Yahya Jammeh, who remains in exile in Equatorial Guinea after refusing to concede loss in 2016 to Barrow.
Jammeh, whose 22-year leadership over the tiny nation of 2.5 million people was marked by the assassination and torture of political opponents, had sought to urge followers to vote for an opposition alliance through phone calls that were transmitted to campaign rallies.
However, his lasting impact was insufficient to detract from Barrow’s performance. The president, who just has to win more votes than the second-placed contender, took 315,547 votes in 36 of the first 41 constituencies released.
His closest competitor, political veteran Ousainou Darboe, received 133,177 votes, with four other candidates trailing well behind.
There were just 12 constituencies left to be notified.
The election was viewed as a litmus test for Gambia’s democratic development and capacity to move on from the Jammeh period.
Barrow’s first term was highlighted by the coronavirus epidemic, which harmed an economy that is highly reliant on tourism as well as peanut and fish exports.