Africa

Gambians head to polls to choose parliament under new leader

  • FILE- In this Friday Dec. 2, 2016 file photo, Gambians celebrate the victory of Opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow, run past an army soldier on the streets of Serrekunda, Gambia. Many Gambians hope to secure a transition from decades of dictatorship to democracy on Thursday, April 6, 2017, as they vote in parliamentary elections, the first since longtime leader Yahya Jammeh flew into exile in January. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

    FILE- In this Friday Dec. 2, 2016 file photo, Gambians celebrate the victory of Opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow, run past an army soldier on the streets of Serrekunda, Gambia. Many Gambians hope to secure a transition from decades of dictatorship to democracy on Thursday, April 6, 2017, as they vote in parliamentary elections, the first since longtime leader Yahya Jammeh flew into exile in January. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 file photo, A man holds a banner as Gambians cheers in Serrekunda, Gambia.  Many Gambians hope to secure a transition from decades of dictatorship to democracy on Thursday, April 6, 2017, as they vote in parliamentary elections, the first since longtime leader Yahya Jammeh flew into exile in January. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 file photo, A man holds a banner as Gambians cheers in Serrekunda, Gambia. Many Gambians hope to secure a transition from decades of dictatorship to democracy on Thursday, April 6, 2017, as they vote in parliamentary elections, the first since longtime leader Yahya Jammeh flew into exile in January. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE- In this Thursday Dec. 1, 2016 file photo, Gambians wait to cast their vote at a polling station in Banjul, Gambia. Many Gambians hope to secure a transition from decades of dictatorship to democracy on Thursday, April 6, 2017, as they vote in parliamentary elections, the first since longtime leader Yahya Jammeh flew into exile in January. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

    FILE- In this Thursday Dec. 1, 2016 file photo, Gambians wait to cast their vote at a polling station in Banjul, Gambia. Many Gambians hope to secure a transition from decades of dictatorship to democracy on Thursday, April 6, 2017, as they vote in parliamentary elections, the first since longtime leader Yahya Jammeh flew into exile in January. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)  (The Associated Press)

Voters are heading to the polls in Gambia for parliamentary elections that are expected to end two decades of domination by the party of former leader Yahya Jammeh.

Thursday's vote is crucial for the transition promised by President Adama Barrow, who beat Jammeh in December elections. Barrow has promised a path toward reconciliation and greater freedoms in the tiny West African country. Jammeh's government was long accused of rights abuses.

Poll worker Lamin Fofana says a good turnout is expected despite a slow start.

Some 886,000 Gambians are registered to vote on 239 candidates for 53 constituencies.

The eight opposition parties that backed Barrow are now running separately against the former APRC ruling party, the Gambia Democratic Congress and some 42 independent candidates.