Gambia Political System

According to, with capital city of Banjul, Gambia is a country located in Western Africa with total population of 2,416,679.

Where is Gambia

State and politics


According to the Constitution, which came into force in 1997, power is shared between the executive, legislative and judicial authorities. The executive, the president and the government, is accountable to Parliament. This has 58 seats, of which 51 are elected in general elections for a five-year term and five members are nominated by the president. Even the president is elected for five years in general elections and can be re-elected for an unlimited number of times.

The voting age is 18 years. Political parties can be banned when national security is threatened. In 2001, President Yahya Jammeh and Parliament approved a number of constitutional amendments that would strengthen the president’s power, including an extended term of office for seven years, but the referendum that would formally adopt the amendments has not yet been implemented.


Yahya Jammeh, who took power in a military coup in 1994, won the first four presidential elections held under the new constitution. In the 1996 election he received close to 56 percent of the vote and in 2001 just under 53 percent. The party founded by Jammeh, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), won a large majority in the 1997 and 2002 parliamentary elections. than half of the registered voters voted.

Ahead of the 2011 presidential election, four opposition parties formed the Alliance United Front, whose candidate Hamat Bah was one of two opponents of Jammeh; the other was second in the last three elections, Ousainou Darboe, representing the United Democratic Party. Darboe again came second after Jammeh who was re-elected with 71.5 percent of the vote. The election was decided in advance by the West African cooperation organization ECOWAS because of the prevailing situation in the country which severely limits the opposition’s ability to work and reach out to voters. The election procedure, where ballot papers are replaced by glass balls placed in labeled metal drums, one for each candidate, has aroused some appearance.

After returning to multi-party systems, the Gambia was able to gradually leave the economic isolation that the coup brought. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how GA can stand for Gambia. Only in 2002, however, did the United States abolish its sanctions. However, the country’s economic policy has attracted criticism from, among other things, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in 2003 withdrew the support that was specifically aimed at reducing poverty and stimulating growth. Jammeh’s government was also criticized for restricting media freedom. A new press law passed in 2004 makes it possible to imprison journalists for reporting that the authorities find exhilarating. President Jammeh’s grip on power over the years has gotten tougher and reports of human rights violations have been common.

In the presidential election held on December 1, 2016, Jammeh lost to opposition candidate Adama Barrow, who got 43 percent of the vote against just under 40 percent for Jammeh. To the surprise of many, Jammeh, who then ruled the country for 22 years, admitted defeat. Hopes for a peaceful change of power were shattered shortly when Jammeh withdrew from his previous statements and instead of accepting the defeat demanded that the election be annulled by the Supreme Court.

Jammeh’s term of office formally ended on January 18, 2017 and the day after the Barrow swore presidential oath at the Gambia Embassy in neighboring Senegal. ECOWAS threatened to intervene and military forces were placed at the Senegal-Gambia border and, in some cases, also entered Gambian territory. After the mediation of Presidents Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Mauritania, and Alpha Condé, Guinea, Jammeh announced his resignation on January 21. He left the country the same day and went into exile in Equatorial Guinea. Barrow promised that the former president would be guaranteed all the rights of a Gambian citizen and former head of state. ECOWAS strengthened its military presence in Gambia to ensure security.

In the parliamentary elections held in April 2017, 31 of the 53 electoral seats of the United Democratic Party (UDP), a party of which Adama Barrow was a member, joined until he took office as president. No other party received more than five seats.

See also the section History.


When the Gambia became independent in 1965, it continued to apply all laws and regulations that had been introduced by the British. This included large parts of the rules in force in England, but also England’s unwritten common law. Within however, family law allowed English law to compete with African customary and religious law. The death penalty remains in the penal code but is de facto abolished in 1981.

Heads of State


1970-94 Dawda Kairaba Jawara
1994-2017 Yahya Jammeh *
2017- Adama Barrow

* Jammeh was first chairman of the military council and became president in 1996.