Cameroon Opposition Calls For Protests if Vote Stands

Posted October 17th, 2011 at 4:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Seven opposition candidates in Cameroon say if results from the recent presidential election are not thrown out, they will call on their supporters to begin protesting in the streets.

The candidates said Monday that because of irregularities and fraud during the vote, there can be no legitimate winner. They called for a new election to be held.

Cameroon's supreme court is considering lawsuits against the vote from a number of the candidates. The court must rule on those challenges before certifying the final election results.

President Paul Biya is widely expected to win a new seven-year term extending his already 29-year rule over the central African state.

Election observers said turnout was extremely low, with many Cameroonians expressing apathy over a vote whose result seemed pre-determined.

The opposition accuses Cameroon's electoral commission of favoring the ruling party, and there have been complaints about irregularities on voter lists.

The United Nations applauded Cameroon for conducting the election in a “peaceful manner,” but some international observers raised concerns over the voting process, including severe delays and problems with voting cards.

While President Biya admitted on Sunday that there may be “imperfections” in the voting process, he pleaded for patience, saying his government has no intention of cheating.

The 78-year-old leader has ruled Cameroon since 1982. In 2008, he eliminated constitutionally mandated term limits so he could run for re-election this year. That move sparked street protests in which at least 40 people were killed.