Gambia Presidential Election: December 4, 2021

A ferry in Banjul, capital of The Gambia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Lars Curfs (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Freedom House Rating

Partly Free
Government Type
Presidential Republic
2.2 million
Presidential Election
December 4, 2021
Legislative Elections
April 2022 (due)
Local Elections
March-April 2023 (due)
Local Elections
March-April 2018
Parliamentary Elections
April 6, 2017
Presidential Election
December 1, 2016

Gambia is due to hold a presidential election on December 4, 2021. Subsequently, legislative elections are due in April 2022.

Political Context

In December 2016, The Gambia began a remarkable transition to democracy. Citizens removed dictator Yahya Jammeh – who had come to power in a coup and ruled with an iron fist for 22 years – peacefully, via the ballot box, in a surprising result. Opposition candidate Adama Barrow won the presidency with the backing of a coalition of seven opposition parties. The country then began the process of establishing democracy and recovering from Jammeh’s brutal dictatorship.

The subsequent parliamentary elections in April 2017 were generally judged as a free and fair.

However, Gambia’s road to democracy has not been smooth.

The 2021/2022 Elections in Gambia

Although Barrow had initially promised to serve only one term, he looks likely to seek re-election, which has sparked controversy and protest. He launched a new political party, the National People’s Party (NPP), in early 2021. His strongest challenger will likely be Ousainou Darboe from the United Democratic Party (UDP), which had backed Barrow in 2016.

Curated News and Analysis

Marième Soumaré, The Africa Report (February 3, 2021): Gambia: Adama Barrow on his way to a second term in office

Modou Joof, Bloomberg (January 31, 2021): Gambian Leader Launches Party He’s Expected to Lead in Election

Omar Wally, DW (October 28, 2020): Gambia gets ready to swap marbles for ballot papers

Reuters (September 23, 2020): Gambia Opposition Laments Failure of Bid to Curb Term Limits

Jason Burke, The Guardian (January 28, 2020): Outcry over crackdown in the Gambia as president refuses to quit

The World (December 2, 2016): A stunning election victory for the opposition in West Africa’s The Gambia

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

Updated February 15, 2021

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