Gambia’s President Seeks 4th Term

Posted November 21st, 2011 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Gambia's longtime ruler, who has said only God can remove him from power, is seeking a fourth term in a presidential election this Thursday.

President Yahya Jammeh is expected to extend his rule, after opposition candidates failed to create a coalition in a bid to unseat him.

While campaigning earlier this month, Mr. Jammeh said neither a vote nor a coup could remove him from power, adding his victory is a “foregone conclusion.”

Human rights groups have accused the president of abuses including forced disappearances, killings and torture. The 46-year-old leader has also been accused of driving out political opponents and curtailing press freedoms.

President Jammeh took power in a bloodless military coup in 1996, and since then the tiny West African country has been relatively stable.

Mr. Jammeh has been criticized for claiming to have a secret herbal cure for AIDS.

He also angered West African leaders when he backed Ivory Coast's ousted strongman Laurent Gbagbo, after Mr. Gbagbo lost an election but refused to give up power.

President Jammeh also got into a diplomatic dispute with Senegal and Nigeria, after the seizure of Iranian-made weapons that were apparently being smuggled to rebels in the region through Gambia.

Gambia is the smallest country in Africa, a thin sliver of land surrounded on three sides by Senegal.