The party of Cameroon’s entrenched ruler Paul Biya won 56 of the 70 contested seats in the nation’s first-ever senatorial election, the Supreme Court announced. Supreme Court President Alexis Dipanda Mouelle said Monday that Biya’s Cameroon Peoples’ Democratic Party scored 73 percent of the vote, winning seats in eight of the country’s 10 administrative regions. The opposition Social Democratic Front received 17 percent, with 14 seats in just two regions. The opposition claimed vote-rigging but international observers said instances of vote-buying and intimidation were too few to change the overall outcome of the ballot. According to the constitution, the 80-year-old Biya, in power since 1982, gets to appoint the remaining 30 members of the legislative body, ensuring total control of the newly-created 100-seat Senate.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Cameroon.
Public debates on the convening of the Electoral College for the 14 April 2013 election of senators in Cameroon are rife. Discussions have been on whether or not the time for such election is now, is the Electoral College legitimate and are all those who qualify to participate in the poll according to the Constitution of Cameroon going to take part? While hoping that legal minds clarify the population on what the best practice should be, the bottom line is that the decision to take part ought to be political since Cameroon has embarked on a democratic process and like in all democracies, the freedom of choice remains fundamental. Another crucial factor which cannot be overlooked is the fact that; Part III of Law N° 96-06 of 18 January 1996 to amend the Constitution of 2 June 1972 says in Article 14 (1) that; “Legislative power shall be exercised by the Parliament which shall comprise 2 (two) Houses: (a) The National Assembly; (b) The Senate.” Until now, only the National Assembly existed in the country, leaving a constitutional vacuum that many thought should be filled. Another Constitutional right is that of the Head of State who decides when to convene the Electoral College for any election in the country. Thus, any debate over the timeliness of the election must take into consideration all the legal arguments.
The head of Cameroon’s election commission denied opposition candidates’ allegations of fraud in Sunday’s ballot, saying the process was “more transparent” than in the past.
“Throughout the entire process, no major incident was reported,” Fonkam Azu’u, election commission chairman, said Monday. “Nevertheless Elections Cameroon will draw the necessary lessons in order to better organize future polls.” Opposition candidate Jean de Dieu Momo told reporters he had received reports of improperly sealed ballot boxes.
Election authorities in Cameroon have disqualified half of the country’s 51 presidential candidates before the October 9 poll, prompting mild demonstrations this weekend outside the electoral commission.
Cameroon’s Supreme Court is reviewing the cases of presidential hopefuls whose candidacies were thrown out Friday by the electoral commission, also known as ELECAM. Election officials say they expect the Supreme Court to issue speedy judgments. Election Board Chairman Fonkam Azu’u said the exclusions stemmed from flaws in candidate applications.
Cameroon will hold its presidential poll October 9. The country’s longtime president, Paul Biya, is expected to seek re-election despite calls to step down. Voter registration closes Wednesday in Cameroon, just one day after President Biya signed a decree setting the poll date for October 9.
The 78-year-old president has not yet said whether he will seek another seven-year term. Ruling party officials have urged him to run. Biya’s party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, or CPDM, will choose its candidate at a congress on September 15 and 16 in the capital Yaounde. Journalist Christopher Ambe in Cameroon says some want Biya to step aside.
A leading member of Cameroon’s Diaspora says recent changes in the West African country’s electoral law fall short of their demands. Cameroon’s National Assembly last week agreed to extend voting rights to the estimated five-million citizens living abroad, but only to those who are registered with their local embassy and who do not hold dual nationality.
Kenneth Ndeh, founder of the American Association of Cameroonians says the Diaspora has been asking for dual citizenship and that the recent changes are only intended to benefit President Paul Biya’s ruling party.
“There are lots of things that most Cameroonians in the Diaspora have asked for from the government both at the executive level and at the legislative level. Most Cameroonians in the Diaspora have asked for dual citizenship and basic and respectable services at the consulate level of various embassies abroad and none of these things have been implemented,” he said.
Cameroon: Parliament Adopts Groundbreaking Bill Granting Voting Rights to Cameroonians Overseas | Nouvelles – CRTV
A bill awarding voting rights to Cameroonians resideing out of the country was examined and adopted during the extraordinary session that ended this 9th of July 2011. House Speaker, Cavaye Yeguie Djibril qualified the adoption as a landmark victory for Cameroon’s democracy.
He also considered it as an indication of President Paul Biya’s determination to foster the democratic process in the country.