Gambian media say Thursday’s elections in the country were greeted with “major voter apathy”, with the US-based Freedom Newspaper website saying a “good chunk” of registered voters “failed to show up to vote on election day”.
Observers said the election was one of the most “poorly attended” legislative polls the country had seen, the newspaper said.
Pierre Gomez from Banjul University told the BBC that Gambians were less interested in voting now that former ruler Yahya Jammeh had finally left.
“Now that he is gone they are not really motivated,” he said. Some of the candidates were also not well known to voters, he added.
Gambian media said the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) got nearly 50% of the vote and got 31 seats in the 53-seat parliament.
However the party “grossly underperformed” in the capital Banjul, where it reportedly failed to win a single seat.
President Adama Barrow used to be a member of the United Democratic Party (UDP), but quit after being chosen as the opposition coalition’s presidential candidate so as not to be seen as favouring one party within the grouping.
The former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party got five seats and the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) also got five seats, the website said.
The Gambian Democratic Congress (GDC) headed by Mama Kandeh won four seats. The opposition National Reconciliation Party (NRP) which has formed an alliance with the UDP also won four seats. Two independent candidates also won seats.
Analysts told the website that voting had taken place more or less along ethnic lines, with the UDP winning in ethnic Mandinka areas and the GDC winning in areas where people from the Fulani and Wollof tribes were most numerous. The APRC won in the Fonis region, where Mr. Jammeh came from.