(JollofNews) – The people of the Gambia have voted to decide whether President Yahya Jammeh will remain in office or be unseated by Adama Barrow of the opposition coalition or Mamma Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC).
Polls closed this evening at 17:00 hrs with final results not expected until late Friday.
Voting was generally peaceful amid reports of high voter turnout in all the 1422 polling stations across the country.
Internet and overseas phone lines have been blocked for unexplained reasons and the country’s border with neighbouring Senegal will remain closed for 48 hrs for ‘security reasons’.
President Jammeh, 51 has ruled the small West African nation of less than two million people since 1994, when the then 29-year-old seized power in a bloodless coup.
Mr Jammeh casted his vote early this morning at the July 22 Square in Banjul in the company of his wife and government officials.
At his final rally on Tuesday night, Jammeh said he was looking forward to ramping up development in a country that “will move faster than it has in 22 years,” but he also warned that protests over Thursday’s result would not be tolerated.
Until recently, Mr Jammeh was by far and away the favourite, largely because of a heavy-handed crackdown on the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) and a high increment in the registration fee of political parties.
But protracted negotiations led all the key challengers to put their weight behind Adama Barrow.
Some 886, 578 Gambians are eligible to take part in the election, whose winner will be decided by a simple majority .