85 year-old president Paul Biya wins re-election in Cameroon

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The Cameroonian president, Paul Biya wins re-election bid with 71% of the vote, the constitutional council has announced, extending his 36-year rule and cementing his place as one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers.

The widely-expected win, announced on Monday, gives the 85-year-old a seventh term in office and could see him in power until at least the age of 92. The only current African president to have ruled longer is Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Most Cameroonians have known just one president.

Victory in the 7 October election came amid claims from opposition candidates that the election was marred by fraud, including ballot stuffing and voter intimidation. The constitutional council rejected all 18 petitions claiming fraud last week.

In addition, violence connected to a separatist movement in the western anglophone regions forced tens of thousands to flee in the lead-up to the vote, and kept the vast majority there from casting their ballot.

The announcement follows two weeks of political tension in the coffee and oil-producing country, during which Biya’s leading rival Maurice Kamto claimed victory based on his campaign’s figures, and as police tried to silence opposition marches in the port city of Douala.

Monday’s official results showed Kamto won 14% of the vote. Biya won with a big margin in nine of the 10 regions. In the South and East regions he won over 90% of the vote.

Authorities have defended the process.

“The election was free, fair and credible in spite of the security challenges in the English-speaking regions,” said the president of constitutional council, Clement Atangana, on Monday.

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