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City of Banjul
Saturday, October 24, 2020

I MAY NOT RUN FOR PRESIDENCY EVEN IF AGE LIMIT WAS SCRAPPED

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The four-time presidential candidate has led the second largest party in the country since 1996, but his votes have been phenomenally bottoming out.

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In an exclusive interview with The Standard at his pipeline residence, the UDP leader was visibly furious at criticisms that his insistence on leading a coalition was what frustrated previous attempts. 

He said: “Those people who say that the UDP is the cause of the failure of an opposition coalition in 2011 are very wrong. I have never seen primaries being conducted by members of a different party. They are only conducted by members of the same party to select their leader. So those people who felt that there should have been a primary were the cause of the opposition’s last failure to reach a coalition deal.

“It does not even mean that if there are electoral reforms, I will run for presidency. That is a wrong speculation and it is wrong for anybody to entertain such a notion and I think it is an insult to  Gambians. I want everybody to disabuse their minds because electoral reform does not simply mean that I should be a presidential candidate.”

 

Open to talks 

Several attempts made previously by the opposition to have a coalition have failed due to differences in choosing a standard-bearer. 

Yet, barely a month ago, a diaspora political party, Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in The Gambia (CORDEG), claimed in a press release that it had met opposition leaders in the country in an effort to reach a coalition deal.  

Darboe has said that his party’s doors are open to coalition talks with any opposition party ahead of 2016 presidential elections, expressing optimism that the opposition would reach a coalition deal this time round.

He however declined to comment on what his party’s conditions will be.

He said: “We will react when we are approached by anybody on issues of a coalition. We want to see what is being asked for, regarding the coalition issues before we can make our position known. I don’t see impossibility in having a coalition among the opposition in the country. I don’t want to talk about a situation which is hypothetical. We have not been approached and so I cannot say what the UDP’s conditions for a coalition will be. Besides, that also has to be decided by the party executive. 

“If there is any proposal from any party, let that party put that proposal to the UDP executive. I am an optimist and I think there is going to be a coalition and I think we will reach the deal before time runs out on us. We can reach the deal even six months before the election time and it will be fine.”

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