Abdoulie G. Dibba
The Opposition Parties namely National Reconciliation Party (NRP), the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) on Wednesday 16 March explained their position on political alliance for the 2016 presidential elections.
The political representatives made the explanation while contributing to the debate organized by the Social Sciences and Humanities Students’ Association of the University of the Gambia on the way forward for political activities ahead of the December 1 presidential election.
In addressing the issue of alliance among opposition parties, Mr Hamat Bah of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP) indicated that they are hundred percent in for alliance. He said they have done it before and are ready to do it again.
He stated that “the records are there to speak for themselves that I resigned from my party to contest under the ticket of the united front because that was the demand of my colleagues”.
“Our party has not selected a presidential candidate because we are waiting for a possible alliance among the opposition parties,” stated Bah.
In making their position on alliance known, Lamin Dibba of the United Democratic Party (UDP) stated that “UDP is the main opposition party and has been ready for unity and it is because of unity among the parties ahead of the poll, we decided not to select our flag bearer until we know our fate regarding coalition”.
Mr Dibba pointed out that their party is going to URR for congress, but that the people should not expect announcement of the party flag bearer any sooner.
In explaining their position on alliance, Halifa Sallah, the PDOIS Presidential candidate indicated that the concern of the parties should be how to break the gap between the votes of the ruling party and the opposition which is about 34 percent in the 2011 presidential election.
Because of this concern he said, PDOIS has called for all political parties to go on the ground to build their base and select their presidential candidates and, if there is electoral reform, they could put up their candidates to deprive the incumbent of the majority required to win in the first round and then form an alliance in the second round as has happened in Senegal.
Halifa stated that if there is no electoral reform, then the opposition presidential candidates and their committees should meet to agree on the modalities of selecting one candidate to face the incumbent in 2016.
He concluded by saying that with this approach, parties would not go up to the dying hours and then withdraw from Alliances and start accusing each other of betrayal which encourages voter apathy and facilitates the smooth sailing of the incumbent to victory.
“This is PDOIS’ position on alliance and it is stated in our 2016 election manifesto,” Halifa Sallah concluded.