HC Deb 20 November 2001 vol 375 cc186-7W
Mr. Nigel Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of preparations for the forthcoming parliamentary elections in The Gambia. [15604]

Mr. Bradshaw

The Gambian Independent Electoral Commission is in the preliminary stages of planning for parliamentary elections to be held on January 17 2002. Similar arrangements to the October Presidential elections will be used, including the unique marble system of voting. The voter education campaign is not yet finalised, but will also follow a similar course to the Presidential election, where the turnout was high (89 per cent.). The British observing team found the Presidential election well organised, fair and transparent on the day. I hope that the Parliamentary elections will be conducted in a similar manner. The Independent Electoral Commission has told us it will invite all those who observed the Presidential election, and others, to observe the parliamentary elections.