Sun, Oct 23, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Cameroon’s Biya re-elected president for sixth term: court


Cameroonian President Paul Biya was re-elected for a sixth term with about 78 percent of the votes cast in the Oct. 9 election, the country’s Supreme Court said on Friday.

Biya, who is 78 and has been in power for 29 years, beat long-time opposition leader John Fru Ndi, who took just under 11 percent of the vote. A spokesman for Fru Ndi’s party rejected the result and vowed to challenge it.

Turnout was 66 percent, down from the 2004 election where 83 percent of eligible voters turned out; and the one in 1997, 81 percent.

Rene Sadi, general secretary of Biya’s party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, welcomed the result and said the election had been conducted fairly.

“This choice is the choice of the people,” he said.

Evariste Foupoussi, spokesman for Fru Ndi’s Social Democratic Fund, vowed to challenge the result.

“The declaration of the results is the confirmation of the scandal, that’s all,” Foupoussi said.

However, he did not say what form their challenge would take.

Earlier this week, Fru Ndi and six other candidates called on the Supreme Court to “annul this election masquerade,” but that bid was rejected.

They vowed to urge their supporters “to come out massively to demonstrate in favor of their right to partake in free and transparent elections” should the results stand.

The opposition has accused Biya of having locked down the entire electoral process in his favor and described the polling as “chaotic” and riddled with irregularities.

US Ambassador to Cameroon Robert Jackson on Thursday condemned the running of the election. There had been irregularities at every level, he said, pointing specifically to logistical shortcomings in managing the process and glaring failures to prevent multiple voting.

However, Fru Ndi told reporters in Yaounde: “Cameroonians must assume their responsibilities to defend democracy and justice,” adding that “the candidate proclaimed the winner, whoever it will be, will not have legitimacy.”

Biya for his part accused the opposition of trying to destabilize the country. In a statement, he condemned their statements as “unacceptable and unjustifiable calls for disorder and violence.”

Police had stepped up security in towns across the country, according to sources, while the authorities in Douala, the economic capital, had banned demonstrations, local media reported.

And on Thursday, Cameroon’s bishops appealed to people not to heed calls to take to the streets once the result was announced.

“Stay deaf to calls for violence and disorder,” said Joseph Atanga, president of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon.

Late last month, armed men dressed as soldiers fired into the air and stopped traffic in Douala, calling for Biya to step down.

A security source said the men were members of a previously unknown group called the “Cameroonian People’s Liberation Army.”

Their protest, which caused no casualties, came amid increased calls for Biya to relinquish power.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top