Five opposition parties stormed out of Cameroon’s parliament on Wednesday as the house passed a bill creating an election-monitoring body known as the Observatoire national des elections (ONEL), according to news reports.
Lawmakers from the ruling Rassemblement democratique du peuple camerounais and the allied Union nationale pour la democratie et le progres voted in favour. Together they hold 126 of the 180 seats in the legislature, AFP reported.
AFP cited the text creating ONEL as saying it will be “a neutral organ that regulates the entire electoral process”.
Opposition lawmakers described the bill as anti-constitutional. AFP quoted Union democratique de Cameroon (UDC) President Adamou Ndam Njoya as saying that the 11-member organ would serve to maintain electoral fraud. His faction boycotted the session. So did parliamentarians from the Social Democratic Front, Mouvement democratique pour la defense de la republique, Union des populations du Cameroun and Mouvement pour la liberation du Cameroon.
They charged that the elections commission, as proposed in the draft law, would not be sufficiently independent and impartial given that its members are to be appointed single-handedly by the president of the republic, himself the leader of a political party, the state-owned ‘Cameroon Tribune’ daily reported.
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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