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.
“He has worked so hard that people think he should now retire,” he said. “There has been this debate that we need somebody new to be presidential candidate within the CPDM. That notwithstanding, we are also getting people who are calling that he should stand for re-election. So, at a congress like this, people are already vying to put in their candidature.”
Tension between the new and old guard extends to internal party politics as well.
Party member Robert Moute says elders need to cede top positions to younger members and support them without suffocating them. He says many have been waiting for leadership opportunities for the past 15 years. He says it is time to rejuvenate the party, especially considering that more than half of the country’s registered voters for this election are under 30 years old.