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Friday, 19 October, 2001, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Gambia's president wins election
Voters in queue fanning themselves with ID cards
Gambian turned out in large numbers to vote
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has won a second five-year term, defeating the main opposition candidate, human rights lawyer Oussainou Darboe, by a convincing margin.

Final results
Jammeh 52.96%
Darboe 32.67%
Others 14.37%
Source: Electoral Commission

"I have just phoned President Jammeh congratulating him on his victory, in the interest of peace and democracy," Darboe told reporters in Gambia's capital Banjul.

The electoral authorities say there was a high turn-out, with about 80% of the 500,000-strong electorate casting their ballots.

Mr Jammeh has ruled Gambia since he seized power in a military coup in 1994.

With a majority of 52.96%, Mr Jammeh has avoided a second round in the election.


Mr Darboe strongly criticised a last-minute decision by the Electoral Commission to relax procedures for identifying voters at the polling booths.

President Yayah Jammeh
Jammeh has avoided a second round

At first the commission had said only people on the official final voters' register could vote.

But then it reversed that decision and said those with a voter's card who appeared on a draft register, or "counterfoil" could cast a ballot.

The BBC's Mark Doyle says there are almost bound to be disputes about this change of heart.

The vote

He says on the whole, voting appeared to have gone peacefully, despite tensions in the run-up to the poll which left at least one opposition supporter dead during clashes with police.

Ousainou Darboe leads opposition coalition
Darboe is unhappy over use of identity cards

The more than half a million Gambians who were eligible to vote used a unique ballot bell system in which each voter drops a marble into a drum for their preferred candidate.

Our correspondent said that the marble struck a bell inside the drum to ensure multiple voting could not be detected, and added that bicycles had been banned from polling stations to prevent confusion with the ballot bells.

The BBC's Hassan Arouni
"It seems as if the president is coasting to victory"
The BBC's Mark Doyle
"President Jammeh appealed to the Gambia's young voters"
See also:

17 Oct 01 | Africa
More election violence in Gambia
04 Oct 01 | Africa
Violence mars Gambia campaign
23 Aug 01 | Africa
Gambia kicks out British diplomat
21 Aug 01 | Africa
Gambia hit by pre-poll fever
18 Dec 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
George W's African adventure
18 Oct 01 | Africa
Bells toll in Gambia election
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