Gambian constitutional referendum, 1996

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politics and government of
the Gambia

A constitutional referendum was held in the Gambia on 8 August 1996. The new constitution was passed, with voter turnout of 86.9%.


Elected president Dawda Jawara was overthrown in a military coup led by Yahya Jammeh on 22 July 1994. Following the coup, Jammeh ruled Gambia by decree as head of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council, with all political activity banned.[1] He promised a return to civilian rule within four years, and a constitution was drawn up following a controversial consultation process.[1]

The new constitution allowed for multiparty elections, an unlimited number of five year presidential terms and lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

The referendum was organised by the Provisional Independent Electoral Commission, with 441,732 voters registered.


Choice Votes %
Invalid/blank votes38
Registered voters/turnout441,73286.90
Source: Direct Democracy


Presidential elections were held in August 1996, which were won by Jammeh (despite him denying that he would stand until shortly before the election). In January 1997 parliamentary elections were held and won by Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction.


  1. 1 2 Country Profile: The Gambia Foreign & Commonwealth Office
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