In eight weeks, Equatorial Guinea will experience a new presidential election. The vote was due to take place next April. It was brought forward to 20 November at the same time as the parliamentary and municipal elections. A decision announced on Tuesday, September 20, on behalf of head of state Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has held power for 43 years and did not say whether he would run for a sixth term.
A change to the schedule to save money. This is how the decree read on Tuesday night on Equatorial Guinean TV justifies the fact that the date of the presidential election has been advanced.
This is confirmed by Malabo’s Minister of Information, Virgilio Seriche Riloha. Grouping the elections so that they take place on the same day makes sense in a context of global austerity. This reduces organizational costs. But for exiled resister Severo Moto, as for retired writer and journalist Donato Ndongo-Bydiogo, this announcement of an earlier-than-expected presidential election must be understood in a context of intense pressure.
Pressure coming from a section of the international community that wants to see President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, 80, in power for coup in 1979 against Francisco Macias Nguema, and will leave power soon as part of a peaceful transition.
Who will be the PDGE candidate? But at the last congress of his political formation, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), his son, nicknamed Teodorine, was not admitted. And while he’s labeled the dolphin, some observers don’t believe his father will relinquish that power and the immunity that comes with it in two months. International NGOs regularly report cases of arbitrary detention and human rights violations.
Will a new congress be held in the coming weeks? Who will be the ruling party’s official candidate? “The party will announce when the time comes,” replies the information minister. As a reminder, Teodorin Obiang Nguema was the president’s son convicted in France in 2021 to a three-year suspended prison sentence in connection with the so-called “unfortunate gains” file.
Elsewhere, Equatorial Guinea, which was also under pressure over the issue of the death penalty, announced its abolition earlier this week.