Gambian parliamentary election, 2012

Gambian parliamentary election, 2012
The Gambia
29 March 2012

48 of 53 seats to the National Assembly
27 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
Leader Hamat Bah
Last election 42 seats 0 seats
Seats won 43 1
Seat change Increase 1 Increase 1
Popular vote 80,289 14,606
Percentage 51.8% 9.45%
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Gambia

A parliamentary election was held in the Gambia on 29 March 2012.[1] The election was for 48 of 53 seats in the unicameral National Assembly, with five seats being appointed by the president.


In the past, President Yahya Jammeh has said that regions that do not vote for him would be isolated. This has helped him garner more votes.[2]


Due to the over 50% illiteracy rate in the country,[3] voters would drop glass marbles into coloured drums based on the candidate they chose. Upon the marble hitting the bottom of each drum, a bell would sound to prevent voter fraud through multiple voting.[2]


Six opposition parties (United Democratic Party (UDP), People's Progressive Party, People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism, National Democratic Action Movement, Gambia Moral Congress, Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress, National Convention Party and the National Alliance for Democracy and Development[4]) boycotted the election saying it was rigged in favour of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRD)[2] and after a request to postpone the election was rejected. The UDP's Ousainou Darboe said that the ruling party was "using government resources. They operate from the offices of the regional governors and from the offices of the various local authorities to operate." The grouping also called for ECOWAS to intervene.[5] The grouping said that APR had "an abuse of incumbency [as] complete merger between party and state" allowed for the ruling party to use state resources such as the media for "political advantage."[3] However, Hamat Bah's yet unrepresented National Reconciliation Party (NRP) decided to participate in the election.[2] He made the decision on the premise that he could win back the seat lost after the founding of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development and was subsequently barred by a court ruling.[6]


Electoral observers were present from the African Union, Commonwealth of Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Conference.[2] Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said it would not agree to monitor the election because, according to them, the election was not "free, fair and transparent." ECOWAS also criticised the AU for sending an observer mission.[3]


There were 86 candidates for 48 elected seats.[7] Of the 796,929 eligible voters, 308,489 turned out.[8]

Of the 48 seats the incumbent APRC won 43 seats, the NRP won one seat (of the eight candidates in the running[6]) and independents won four seats.[9] The APRC won 25 seats without contest, which were automatically given to the party.[6]

Total national votes with all constituencies stood at 80,289 voted for APR, 14,606 votes for NRP and 60,055 for independents (including some multiple independent candidates in the same constituency).[10]

 Summary of the 29 March 2012 Gambian parliamentary election results
Parties Votes % Seats +/–
Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction80,28951.8243+1
National Reconciliation Party14,6069.431
Invalid/blank votes0
Registered voters/turnout796,92938.71
Source: Independent Electoral Commission, IFES


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