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Presidential election date set

November 24, 2011 - THE GAMBIA

President Yahya Jammeh is primed to win the presidency of the former British colony for the fourth time since he seized power in a bloodless coup in Jul 1994. Recent elections have been relatively peaceful. This time round, protest elsewhere against autocratic regimes is rife, and outside force to help oust him can't be counted out if Gambians decide he has to go. Some Gambians - perhaps enough to keep his win unchallenged - say he has done much to improve schools, hospitals and roads. Ousainou Darboe and Hamat Bah. Darboe leads the main opposition United Democratic Party. He won 26.69 per cent of the votes in 2006. Bah is running for the third time but this time under the banner of the newly-formed United Front, which groups four opposition parties.

President Yahya Jammeh is primed to win the presidency of the former British colony for the fourth time since he seized power in a bloodless coup in Jul 1994. Recent elections have been relatively peaceful. This time round, protest elsewhere against autocratic regimes is rife, and outside force to help oust him can't be counted out if Gambians decide he has to go. Some Gambians - perhaps enough to keep his win unchallenged - say he has done much to improve schools, hospitals and roads. National assembly elections are expected in the first quarter of 2012, with local government elections one year later. The Gambia, one of Africa's smallers countries, is a sliver extending eastward along both banks of the River Gambia from the Atlantic Ocean for some 300 miles (480 km) into much bigger Senegal, a former French colony, has enjoyed relative stability since independence in 1965. Jammeh and his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) have held a lock on power in the country of 1.7 million people since the coup. Jammeh's two rivals for the presidency are Ousainou Darboe and Hamat Bah. Darboe leads the main opposition United Democratic Party. He won 26.69 per cent of the votes in 2006. Bahis running for the third time but this time under the banner of the newly-formed United Front, which groups four opposition parties. Darboe rejected the 2006 result, saying there had been widespread intimidation by local chiefs, governors and members of the security forces. Commonwealth observers said overt support for Jammeh from public officials during the run-up to the vote may have given him an unfair advantage. The BBC notes that President Jammeh wants to turn The Gambia into an oil-producing state. He says this could usher in a "new future," but the country has yet to strike crude oil. It remains poor, dependent on foreign aid, peanut exports, expatriate remittances and tourism. A BBC country profile for The Gambia notes that many Gambians privately disapprove of the iron-fisted nature of his rule, which has seen political opponents and journalists imprisoned without charge, but say he has done much to improve schools, hospitals and roads.

The Gambia (BBC Country Profile)

Gambia to hold presidential election on November 24 (AFP 31 Mar 2011)

Gambia sets presidential poll for Nov. 24 (Reuters 30 Mar 2011)

No Registration, No Vote for Gambians Abroad , As IEC Declares Date for Registration, Elections (Freedom Newspaper 30 Mar 2011)

Timeline: The Gambia (BBC)

2010 Human Rights Report: The Gambia (US State Department)

Breaking

voter fraud hits the IEC-over 30,000 non Gambians to vote in the September polls- "Dead voters" still on the IEC records!!! (Freedom Newspaper 12 Jul 2006)

Date written/update: 2011-11-24