On Thursday, Gambians will be going to the polls for the first time since former long-time leader Yahya Jammeh was forced into exile.

This time round Gambians will not be voting for a new president but rather new members of the national assembly.

In all 239 candidates from nine political parties registered to participate in the polls. Campaigning for the 48 seats up for election in the legislature ended on Tuesday.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has said that some 886,000 registered voters are eligible to vote.

Many consider Thursday’s process, historic as it could provide Gambians the opportunity to elect lawmakers without any cohesion and imposition as it used to be under Yahya Jammeh.

Already the European Commission has deployed 14 observers to parts of the country to observe the conduct of the polls. The number will increase to 50 when voting gets underway.

The Chief Observer Miroslav Poche told journalists in Banjul that “This team of short-term observers brings a wealth of diverse experience and reflects the interest of the European Union in the upcoming National Assembly elections”.

Voting in Gambia is done by dropping marbles into barrels. The Chairman of the IEC, Alieu Momar Njie told the AFP that the system used in the election that led to the defeat of Yahya Jammeh will be used again.