Gambians voted for president Friday dropping a marble into a bin marked with their candidate's color in elections that longtime President Yahya Jammeh is widely expected to win.
Jammeh is seeking a third five-year term following the adoption of a constitutional amendment that gives victory to the candidate with the largest share of votes no matter how slim the margin. Gambia has no term limits for the presidency.
He seized power in a coup in 1994 and has ruled the impoverished country for 12 years, winning elections in 1996 and 2001 that opposition groups said were rigged. International observers disputed the 1996 vote but cleared the 2001 election as free and fair.
In 2001, Jammeh won 53 percent of the vote to Darboe's 33 percent. In that ballot, a candidate needed to capture at least 50 percent to avoid a runoff.
At a polling station in the capital of Banjul, older women wrapped in brightly colored scarves lined up at polling stations around sunrise. They stood in the humid morning air among men wearing in jeans, suits and traditional flowing robes, reports AP.
A bell rang out every time a marble was dropped into a container, signaling a vote cast.
The marble voting method, used for decades, was originally meant to make voting easier for those who couldn't read. Three bins stood in the voting area green for Jammeh, yellow for challenger Ousainou Darboe and gray for the third candidate, Halifa Sallah. The bins also were labeled with candidate names and pictures.