Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gambia: Commission wants all election held at once

The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has called for the holding of national elections at the same time and not at intervals as is the case presently.

The IEC said holding the presidential, legislative and local government elections at the same time will be more cost-effective.

On Wednesday, IEC Chairperson Alhaji Mustapha L. Carayol, told State TV, GRTS, it will be very cost effective if the three elections are synchronize - held at the same time -instead of organizing three different elections at intervals.

He said the current mode of conducting elections in the tine West African country is very cost intensive.

Mr Carayol’s call came at a time when international donor agencies are apparently becoming reluctant to help finance The Gambia’s national elections.

In The Gambia, presidential and national assembly elections are held every five years and local government elections every four years.

The cost of voter registration exercise for these three set of elections is D65, 297,506 (over US$1,978,712), Mr Carayol said. The 2011-2013 elections cycle was entirely financed by the Government of The Gambia.

Bracing for upcoming election

The IEC chairperson said the commission is bracing itself for the forthcoming March 14-16, 2013 nomination for the local government elections which is slated for April 4. 

The campaign period for the election meant to choose Mayors and Ward Councilors is scheduled to take off from March 20-April 2, 2013.

Local government election in The Gambia is done to elect mayors for the Banjul City Council, and Kanifing Municipal Council and Councilors for the 114 Wards in the eight Local Government Councils of the country. 

The commission is set, 100 percent ready to conduct the election. All our materials are intact, Mr Carayol.

A countrywide voter education which started on January 7, 2013 is ending on April 3, 2013. The IEC said the campaign is meant to expedite the process leading to a successful local government election, and encourage high level participation of all major stakeholders in the electoral process.

This is to ensure that the electorates abundantly understand the purpose for Local Government Elections in The Gambia and the functions of such officials that may be voted into the offices of the Local Authorities,” the IEC said.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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