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Gambia prepares to rejoin British Commonwealth

Staff Writer |
The Gambia's parliament unanimously voted to rejoin the British Commonwealth.

The Gambia pulled out of the 54-nation bloc, sometimes called the Commonwealth of Nations, in 2013, with then-President Yahya Jammah calling it a "neo-colonial institution." Jammah also pulled his country from the International Criminal Court.

Jammah's surprise defeat, after 22 years in power, by opposition leader Adama Barrow in a 2016 presidential election led the way for reforms in the country.

Rejoining the United Kingdom-led bloc was among Barrow's campaign priorities, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in February that Britain would welcome The Gambia's return.

Commonwealth member states are former U.K. colonies or dominions, and include Canada, Australia and India. Countries lesser in power, like Fiji, Gibraltar and Namibia, are also members.

While the bloc has less prestige than when it was known as the British Empire, membership still conveys prestige, and has economic and trade benefits with Britain.

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