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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 12:27 GMT
Gambia election boycott
Government supporters
President Jammeh won presidential elections
The main opposition party in Gambia is to boycott national assembly elections due on 17 January.

The announcement casts a shadow over the swearing-in of President Yahya Jammeh later on Friday for a second five-year term.

Ousainou Darboe
Darboe is worried about electoral fraud
The leader of the United Democratic Party-led coalition, Ousainou Darboe, said they doubted the electoral commission's ability to conduct a free and fair election after its handling of the presidential election in October.

He alleged massive electoral fraud had been perpetrated by the ruling party with the active collaboration of the Gambian electoral commission.

"There have been massive transfers of votes from constituencies where the ruling party feels confortable to constituencies where they do not."

Political scores

Mr Darboe told the BBC the aim of the boycott was to expose the fraud in order for the country's democratic institutions to become more responsive to the people's aspirations.

President Yahya  Jammeh of the Gambia
President Jammeh will be sworn in later on Friday

The 18 October presidential elections were judged by election observers like the Commonwealth to have been fair on the day of the voting.

But the UDP said that some 60 of its people were picked up without charge after the polling, in what appeared to have been an exercise in settling political scores.

These arrests awakened fears that President Jammeh's government, which first came to power in a military coup, was reverting to repressive ways after foreign observers left the country.

Ousainou Darboe
"We are not taking part in the national assembly elections"
See also:

04 Oct 01 | Africa
Violence mars Gambia campaign
19 Oct 01 | Africa
Gambia's president wins election
25 Oct 01 | Africa
Gambia slips towards repression
29 Oct 01 | Africa
Gambian rights activist released
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