The Gambian government has refused to grant accreditation to an EU delegation, who had earlier expressed interest in observing Gambia’s Presidential elections scheduled for December, 1st, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The decision to deny the EU delegation access to monitor the polls was made by Gambia’s Foreign Ministry.
An EU source said that Gambia’s election commission had signalled last week a willingness to allow the EU to participate, as it had done in the previous election in 2011, Reuters reported.
“We have been informed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Gambia that the mission was not accepted,” the spokesman said.
A Gambian government spokesman did not respond to repeated requests for comment. An official at the electoral commission told Reuters that African Union observers had been accredited to attend the elections.
President Yahya Jammeh and opposition leaders have begun two weeks of final campaigning across the former British colony.
Eight opposition parties have rallied behind one candidate, businessman Adama Barrow, in a bid to end Jammeh’s 22-year rule, which activists and diplomats say has been marred by human rights abuses and repression.
Jammeh said last week all observers were welcome to come and observe “the credibility of the electoral process”.
Visiting Gambia last week, the top U.N. regional official for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, called for transparency and a “level playing field” for the vote.