Coalition split over Parliamentary election


By Alagie Manneh The Coalition is so far a divided house as far as the upcoming April National Assembly poll is concerned, following the UDP and NRP’s failure to commit themselves to the outcome of negotiations between political parties that made up the new government. Speaking at a press conference Halifa Sallah, spokesman of the Coalition told journalists that all the remaining parties have agreed to come together to sponsor independent candidates to contest the April parliamentary seats in the name of the coalition except UDP and NRP, who are yet to be fully committed to the treaty, citing some reservations. “My duty is to report to you that after lengthy deliberations, I am told to tell you that the position of the Coalition is to participate in this election on the bases of independent coalition candidates,” Sallah said. He added: “Of course two parties [UDP and NRP] have reservations. They still have reservations.” But Mr Sallah insisted that the “coalition cannot withhold its position because nomination is going to take place on the 9th. “If we are to maintain the same principle, all of you are fully aware that parties during the Presidential election had to decide whether they will put up candidates or not until we were left with six presidential candidates while the other parties decided not to. And based on that, these candidates were brought together in order to select one among their number to be an Independent Coalition Presidential candidate. “So it means that the same principle must be applied if we are going to have coalition independent National Assembly Members, we must look at the candidates that the parties wish to put as candidates and bring them together to narrow the gap so that we end up with one candidate,” Mr Sallah said. He said the coalition executive, as far as the National Assembly is concerned, will be giving two criteria as their fundamental base of selection, which is the electability and competence of the candidate. Sallah argued that without competence, the Gambia is not going to have “a very strong and viable National Assembly, and consequently our objective would have failed. “So it is in this regard that the coalition has decided that we cannot keep our negotiations secret, but to declare it so that those who wish to continue with that policy of coalition independent candidates will begin work in earnest.” The UDP and the NRP party are yet to come up with an explanation as to why they are not yet convinced about the policy.]]>