BANJUL, Gambia, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Voting came to an end exactly at 5:00 p.m. Saturday evening in Gambia's capital Banjul as the president and other candidates all called for peace and calm in the country.
It is the first presidential election since long-term ruler Yahya Jammeh was defeated in 2016 by the current leader.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands came out to vote to choose among the six presidential candidates. Incumbent Adama Barrow's National People's Party (NPP) is facing a tough test against his former vice president Ousainou Darboe, who is leading the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Other candidates include Halifa Sallah of People's Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), Mama Kandeh, leader of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC), Abdoulie Ebrima Jammeh of National Unity Party (NUP) and independent candidate Essa Mbye Faal.
Shortly after casting his vote at the McCarthy Square in Banjul, President Adama Barrow hailed Gambian people for the impressive turnout.
"We are very happy for the people coming out in numbers to exercise their rights. It is a constitutional right for every citizen to vote. I think it is good for Gambia. So far, the process is smooth, it is peaceful but wait and see," he said.
He advised that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) remain neutral, so as to make it easy for all to accept the final results.
Barrow said he is confident of a resounding victory as an outcome of the election. "We will never lose this election. It will be the biggest landslide victory in the history of elections in this country. I enjoy unprecedented support in this country."
Meanwhile, his main challenger Ousainou Darboe has also cast his vote in Fajara. He called on Gambians to maintain peace and order throughout the election period. "What I would implore to every Gambian is to stay calm. No one should engage in the act of provocation whether by conduct or by words. If we do so we would destabilize our country."
Essa Faal, the independent candidate, has also called for restraint.
The counting of votes is ongoing at the polling centers and the results will be sent to the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Alieu Momar Njie for announcement. The official declaration of the final results is scheduled for Sunday morning.
The country will seek to avoid another disputed election as that of the 2016, which saw former president Yahya Jammeh rejecting the results and leading to mass exodus of Gambians into Senegal. Jammeh has since been in exile in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Enditem