Cameroon: the legislative elections hold for February 2020

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Yaoundé, Cameroon- After two postponements, Cameroon finally announced Sunday the holding of legislative and municipal elections on February 9, 2020 as the country faces a serious crisis in its English-speaking areas and also faces the jihadist attacks of Boko Haram.

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The Cameroonian presidency announced the holding of these elections – the first in 7 years – in a decree published Sunday.

Elected in 2013, the Cameroonian Parliament was not renewed in 2018, as President Paul Biya decided to extend the term of office of elected officials in a country shaken by security issues.

Although the presidential election went well in 2018, and led to the re-election of President Biya, participation had fallen in the English-speaking regions, where the conflict between separatists and the armed forces has left 3,000 dead for two years, according to reports. NGO .

It has reached 5% in the North West, nearly ten times less than in the whole country.

In addition, the re-election of Biya, who has been in power for 37 years, has triggered a serious political crisis in Cameroon.

The second-ranked candidate, Maurice Kamto, contested the result and evoked an “electoral hold” during marches organized by his party, the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon ( MRC ).

The opposition “thinks”
These peaceful demonstrations led to his imprisonment in January. Since his release from prison in early October, Mr. Kamto has tried three times to hold public meetings, without obtaining authorization from the authorities.

On Thursday, however, he went quietly to Bafoussam, a city in the West where 43 people died in a landslide in late October. In this region where he is from, he was acclaimed by the crowd.

Contacted by AFP , MRC Secretary General Christopher Ndong said the party needed “time to think” before giving its position on the elections.

“We asked that certain preconditions be met, such as the revision of the electoral code,” he said.

For now, the presidential majority, built around the Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People ( CPDM ), is the lion’s share in parliament, with 157 out of 180 elected.

American pressure
For its part, President Biya is trying to improve its image internationally. In addition to the announcement of the holding of elections and the release of Mr. Kamto, the government had organized a “Great National Dialogue” in early October, where a special status for English-speaking regions was proposed.

These acts of appeasement have not convinced the entire international community. While President Biya has received a visit from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the United States has hardened its tone against Yaoundé.

Denouncing “gross and repeated violations of internationally recognized human rights”, Washington deprived Cameroon of its preferential trade treatment.

In the Cameroonian parliament, the main opposition party remains the Social Democratic Front ( SDF ) of the historical opponent John Fru Ndi, even if the new party candidate, Joshua Osih, collapsed in 2018, winning only 3, 35% of the vote and fourth place.

In the immediate future, SDF officials contacted by AFP refused to make statements about their participation, or not, in the 2020 legislative elections.

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