Gambia president forms new political party

Gambian President Adama Barrow created a new political party on Tuesday, according to the country’s electoral authority, in a move that would allow him to contest future elections unhindered.

The president has formally registered the National Peoples Party, with himself as its leader, Joe Colley, the communications director for The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission, told AFP.

The announcement comes as the Barrow’s relationship with his former political party – the country’s largest – has deteriorated, and during mounting calls for him to step down

After a coalition of parties agreed to back him, Barrow defeated former autocrat Yahya Jammeh in elections in the tiny West African state in 2016.

Their agreement stipulated that Barrow quit his United Democratic Party to stand as an independent, and step down after three years of leading an interim government, an AFP journalist said.

But The Gambia has been increasingly divided over whether Barrow should step down or not.

Presidential terms last five years in the former British colony.

At the end of September, part of Barrow’s original coalition agreed to support him completing a five-year term.

Two parties, including the UDP, have rejected the move, however.

Thousands of protesters also took to the streets this month demanding that Barrow honour his pledge and step down on January 19 – the three-year anniversary of his swearing-in.

Forming a new party would allow Barrow to contest elections without relying on parties such as the UDP, an AFP journalist said.