Gambians were waiting Sunday to find out the winner of the first presidential election in the West African nation since former dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile.

Results from only around 15 of the country’s 53 electoral districts have so far been published online by the state broadcaster since polls closed at 1700 GMT Saturday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an electoral commission official told AFP that results would be published district-by-district, with the commission announcing the winner at the end.

He expected that the count would be finished on Sunday and the result announced by the commission’s president.

 

The election is being closely watched as a test of the democratic transition in The Gambia, where Jammeh ruled for 22 years after seizing power in a bloodless coup in 1994.

The ex-autocrat was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 after Adama Barrow, then a relative unknown defeated him at the ballot box.

Barrow, 56, faced five challengers in his re-election bid.

Several factors have slowed the tally, including The Gambia’s scarce financial resources, high turnout, and the country’s unusual voting system.

Illiteracy is widespread in The Gambia, so voters cast their ballot by dropping a marble into a tub marked with their candidate’s colour and photo — a practice dating back to the country’s past as a British colony

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