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Biya officially declared winner of presidential election

[Cameroon] Cameroonian President Paul Biya.
Will President Paul Biya stand for a new term?
President Paul Biya was officially declared the winner of Cameroon's presidential election on Monday, but with a lower percentage of the vote than the government had originally claimed. The Supreme Court, sitting as the Constitutional Council, declared the 71-year-old head of state re-elected for a further seven-year term with 70.92 percent of the vote. That was slightly less than the 75.24 percent claimed by the Interior Ministry, when preliminary results were issued last week. John Fru Ndi, the leader of the Social Democratic Front (SDF), Cameroon's largest opposition party, was declared runner-up with 17.40 percent of the vote. Adamou Ndam Njoya, who stood on behalf of a coalition of nine opposition parties, was officially placed third with 4.40 percent. Both opposition candidates have alleged that Biya resorted to massive fraud to perpetuate his 22-year-old rule over this Central African country, which was formed from an unusual union of former French and British colonies. Police prevented Fru Ndi from holding a press conference last week to announce that he was the real winner of the presidential election with 45 percent of the vote. Fru Ndi claimed that Biya had managed to get just 40 percent. About 500 police were present around the Supreme Court on Monday when the final results of the 11 October election were officially announced. But there was no trouble and thousands of supporters of Biya's ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) who had gathered outside the building broke into joyous chants of "Paul Biya! Paul Biya our President!" as soon as the final vote tally was announced. They then paraded round the streets of Yaounde singing "Paul Biya for seven more years." The opposition, which tried unsuccessfully to get the Supreme Court to annul the election on the grounds of widespread fraud, greeted the result with glum resignation. "We are definitely disappointed that the Supreme Court has refused to accept the opinion of the people," SDF secretary-general Tazoacha Asonganyi told IRIN. "The supreme court's verdict shows that the judiciary has no independence of its own and its powers are instead being dictated by the executive which has conditioned the results of these elections as it has always done in the past," he added. Theophile Moyo, a spokesman for the Coalition for National Reconciliation and Reconstruction, which backed Ndam Njoya, said: "The results are a real deception for the coalition. We can neither accept nor reject the results, but the coalition will continue to fortify itself to better fight irregularities in future". International observer groups from the Commonwealth and the International Organisation of French-Speaking Countries (OIF)acknowledged shortcomings in the preparation of the elections, in particular the exclusion of large numbers of eligible voters from the electoral roll. However, they concluded that the preliminary results announced last week broadly reflected the wishes of those who had been able to vote. The Constitutional Council said there was an 82.23 percent turnout among the 4.6 million people registered to vote. Cameroon has a population of 16 million and the opposition has alleged that nearly half the country's eight million potential voters were excluded from the electoral roll.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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