1996 Gambian presidential election

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Presidential elections were held in the Gambia on 29 September 1996. The first since the 1994 military coup led by Yahya Jammeh, they were also the first elections to be held under the new constitution, and the first presidential elections held separately from parliamentary elections. Voter turnout was exceptionally high, with 88% of the 446,541 registered voters voting.

Despite originally stating that he did not intend to run, Jammeh entered the race shortly before the elections. He emerged victorious with 55.8% of the vote, winning the most votes in every district except Mansa Konko (where UDP candidate Ousainou Darboe was the most voted-for).

The elections were criticised as unfair due to government crackdowns on journalists and opposition leaders at the time.[1][2]


Candidate Party Votes %
Yahya Jammeh Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction 220,011 55.77
Ousainou Darboe United Democratic Party 141,387 35.84
Hamat Bah National Reconciliation Party 21,759 5.52
Sidia Jatta People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism 11,337 2.87
Invalid/blank votes 43
Total 394,537 100
Registered voters/turnout 446,541 88.35
Source: African Elections database

The number of invalid votes was extremely low due to the country's unique voting system of putting marbles into drums, which meant that almost no votes were rejected.


  1. ^ Wright, Donald (2010). The World and a Very Small Place in Africa: A History of Globalization in Niumi, The Gambia (third ed.). Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-7656-2483-3.
  2. ^ French, Howard W. (September 28, 1996). "Military Ruler in Gambia Defeats Rivals in Election". The New York Times.