Gambia’s National Assembly on Tuesday scrapped the constitutional age limit on presidential election candidates, after newly elected president Adama Barrow faced questions over his deputy’s eligibility due to her age.
The new change comes after Barrow faced criticism over his decision to nominate 68-year old Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang.
According to a constitutional amendment that came into effect 1997, anyone over 65 has been barred from running for Gambia’s highest office. The constitution further states that the vice-president must fulfill the qualifications required for a president which made Tambajang overage.
Last week, she was however named women’s minister instead, with a mandate to oversee the vice-presidency.
Observers say the constitutional change adopted by parliament on Tuesday will have to be approved by Barrow before being effected, a move that would allow him to name Tambajang officially to the vice-presidency again.
The parliamentarians also voted to lift the retirement age of judges to 75 years.
Interior Minister Mai Fatty defended the changes, saying: “It is envisaged that this will facilitate and encourage qualified, competent and experienced Gambians to be appointed as judges of the superior courts or be elected to political office.
Gambia’s parliament remains dominated by former president’s Yahya Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party.