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Gambia’s polls close despite internet shutdown and ban on international calls

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The long awaited polls in the Gambia closed amidst a total shutdown of the internet and international calls into the country.

Gambians woke up to the realisation that they could not contact family and friends outside Gambia or share their experiences about the general elections.

This is regular practice in Gambia during general elections, but the actions of the government during the December 1st polls revealed a sliver of the first real threat to President Jammeh after more than two decades in power.

Jammeh faces unprecedented opposition after a coalition of opposition parties united behind a single flag bearer, Adama Barrow.

Business man Adama Barrow fired up voters on the stump and sent a clear message to the president about the possibility of him clinching the presidency.

The control on communications by the government under the cloak of a “possible unrest” and pre-emptive ban on protests are fuelling fears of voting day fraud, and worries there could be a violent aftermath.

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Gambia’s marble and drum voting system

Gambia’s dated electoral system involves voters placing a marble in different coloured drums representing their chosen candidate. Nearly 900,000 people are eligible to vote at 1,400 polling stations across the country.

There was a high turnout of voters across the country in what has been their most consequential elections in the past 51 years.

Officials of the electoral commission revealed that polls closed at 5pm and the results would be announced at midnight.

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