(JollofNews) – Gambian lawmakers Tuesday unanimously voted to reverse the election law which increased the cost to register for a political party by 100 times.
The law. which was introduced by the previous regime of Yahya Jammeh in 2015, increased a non-refundable registration fee for presidential candidates from D10,000 to D1 million and parliamentary candidates from D5,000 to D100,000.
It also raised the registration fee for mayoral candidates from D2, 500 to D50, 000 and local councillors from D1, 250 to D10, 000.
Despite the increment which was seen as an attempt to price opposition candidates out of power, Mr Jammeh was defeated in the December 2016 election.
Making a case for the law to be amended, Mai Ahmad Fatty, minister of the Interior, said the new government of Adama Barrow is determined to encourage the widespread participation of the ordinary citizenry in the new democratic dispensation.
He said taking the salaries and financial position of Gambians, the government wants to encourage people to seek political office by reducing the registration fees.
He added that under the new amendment, presidential candidates will pay D10,000 deposit while parliamentary candidates will pay a deposit of D5, 000. People contesting for mayor and councillors will pay a D2, 500 and D1,250 deposit respectively.
Ironically, the very lawmakers who commended Mr Jammeh when the 2015 amendment bill was being debated, took turns to commend the new regime for having the courage to reverse the very laws they had voted in favour.