Political parties calls for reduction of electoral cycle

Political parties calls for reduction of electoral cycle

By Cherno Omar Bobb

Gambian political parties has recommended for the reduction of the country’s electoral cycle to at least within a year.

Political party representatives made the recommendation during a week-long nationwide post-Local Government Elections orientation of political parties on electoral laws, processes and maintenance of peace organised by the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) with funding from UNDP.

The activity was designed to enhance the understanding of political parties regarding electoral laws and processes, as well as promote peaceful and inclusive democratic practices. The theme for the orientation was “Awareness of electoral laws and processes is key to meaningful and peaceful electoral participation.”

The orientation sessions were conducted in six days across the country, involving nearly 300 representatives from various political parties, youth and women leaders as well as Civil Society Organisations.

The discussions and recommendations put forward aim to ensure the sustainability of peaceful democratic dispensation and pave the way for more inclusive, transparent, and participatory elections in the future.

Participants shared experiences and opinions on how to improve the current system to have improved elections in the future that will continue to put the Gambia on the global spotlight for its credibility and efficacy.

The Gambia’s electoral cycle is spread across three years with citizens having to vote for presidential, National Assembly Members, Councillors and Mayors/Chairpersons seperately.

An overwhelming number of participants called for the ammendment of electoral laws to ensure all elections are held within a year. “How can the country develop when we spend three of the five years politicking and campaigning” they questioned.

It was recommended that the presidential and National Assembly Members elections be joined, and the Mayoral/Chairpersons and Councillorship elections be joined to safe the state money to be invested in other development initiatives as elections are too expensive and time consuming.

They described the Gambia’s electoral cycle as  too long and should be compressed to allow more time for development. “We must be ready to advance as a nation.”


  1. Electoral reform: To strengthen Gambia’s democratic credentials, there is an urgent need to resuscitate the constitutional reform process and speed up the election law reform to meet the current realities of a democratic Gambia.
  1. IEC should be more assertive in enforcing the electoral laws and Election Code of Conduct to reduce tension during electioneering period.
  1. Ballot Drum to Paper Ballot: Switching from the Ballot Drum system to a Paper Ballot system is desired by many, considering the increasing number of political parties and candidates during elections. However, many are also still of the believe that the current marble system which is unique and transparent should be improved upon and maintained. For others, it is essential to involve all stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organizations, and election officials, in discussions about transitioning to a new voting system. Additionally, implementing such changes would require careful planning, public awareness campaigns including mock elections, and sufficient resources to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
  1. Electoral Cycle Reduction:Gambia’s electoral cycle of three years is consider too long and should be compressed to allow for more time for development. Frequent elections is costly, time consuming and could lead to campaign fatigue, and voter apathy, as well as a focus on short-term solutions rather than long-term planning. Additionally, politicians may spend a significant portion of their time in office campaigning for re-election rather than national development.
  • Diaspora Voting: The diaspora is an integral part of the Gambian community, and their voices and interests should be represented in the political process. By allowing them to vote, the government ensures a more inclusive and representative democracy that considers the views and concerns of Gambians both within the country and abroad. However, others argued that it’s worth noting that the issue of diaspora voting is complex and might raise challenges related to logistics, verification of eligibility, and ensuring the integrity of the voting process. Gambia need to establish appropriate mechanisms and systems to facilitate diaspora voting while maintaining the security and fairness of elections.


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