CAMEROON: Ruling party consolidates power in regional election

Cameroon held regional elections for the first time in December, but these did not appear to deepen democracy. Paul Biya has been Cameroon’s president since 1982, making him the world’s longest-running non-royal ruler and, at 88 years, Africa’s oldest head of state, and he has stayed in office by minimising alternatives to his power. The ruling party positioned the vote as a devolution of power to the provincial level, but opposition groups denounced the elections, which were conducted not on the basis of one person, one vote but indirectly, through an electoral college constituted of regional delegates and traditional chiefs who elected regional councillors. Opposition groups claimed that the electoral college was stuffed with ruling party supporters, and some refused to stand.

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