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Cameroon - 2019 Election

Cameroon will hold elections for the National Assembly, Senate & local offices in October 2019 (postponed from late 2018). Cameroon's government is a monarchy "dressed in the trappings of democracy". Cameroon is still a feudalist society as the relationship between the elites (ministers, senior officials, traditional) and the common people is more akin to lords and serfs than citizens of equal standing.

Cameroon’s president Paul Biya confirmed that the country would hold its presidential election on 07 October 2018, removing all doubts over whether the violence-gripped, oil-rich nation would make it to the polls. Biya, 85, had been in power since 1982, making him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. The decision to hold presidential elections came a few days after lawmakers adopted a bill that postponed parliamentary polls until October 2019. "The mandate of the deputies is extended for a period of twelve months, from October 29, 2018," read the bill, supported by Cameroon's President Paul Biya. It was explained that because of the simultaneity of the presidential, legislative and municipal elections in 2018, the organization of the legislative elections could be difficult.

The Cameroonian deputies adopted the extension of one year of their mandate, at the request of President Paul Biya. The parliamentary elections will therefore finally take place in 2019, after the general elections, including the presidential elections, scheduled for 2018. In question, "the holding - during the year 2018 - presidential, legislative and municipal elections at the same time", which would make "difficult their material organization," explained the president of Cameroon, 85 years, including 35 in power, in correspondence to Parliament. This was not the first time the executive has requested the postponement of legislative elections generally coupled with municipal elections. In 2012 for instance, the deputies and town councilors’ mandate was extended to 2013.

Analysts believe the elections will end with the CPDM scoring a crushing majority. The party has always insisted on what it calls party discipline and instructs its representatives to obey party hierarchy.

Unlike other autocratic leaders in Africa who take a more "hands-on" leadership approach, Biya is known for his "hands-off" style of rule. Like many Cameroonians, Affana notes that Biya uses public funds in the country with a high poverty rate to sustain a bureaucracy of 65 sycophantic ministers and state secretaries. He mostly governs by decree or with the help of laws rushed through a rubber-stamp parliament.

The spiraling crisis in Cameroon's Anglophone regions has tarnished President Paul Biya's reputation in the West as an arbiter of stability in tenuous central Africa and could threaten his long hold on power. In the predominantly English-speaking north- and south-west Cameroon - home to around five million people - protests by the Anglophones who complained of being marginalized by the Francophone-led government spilled over into violence in 2016 that has escalated since. Political observers believe that the arguably worsening crisis in Cameroon is largely due to the Biya regime's use of violence and brutality as a first resort.

Fighting had become almost daily between the Cameroonian security forces and armed men claiming the "restoration forces" of an English-speaking state that had briefly seen the day between the two world wars, under British mandate. According to the government, more than 80 members of the security forces were killed in the fighting. No record on the separatist side is available, while more than 600 people have been arrested since the beginning of the crisis, according to UN sources.

Cameroon’s opposition leader Maurice Kamto was charged 13 February 2019 with rebellion, insurrection and hostility against the homeland, more than two weeks after his arrest on 28 January. Kamto lost what he said was a fraudulent presidential election in October 2018 and was after organising a small rally against long-serving President Paul Biya. Security services broke up that rally with live fire, shooting and wounding six people, and have put down other rare anti-Biya protests across the country.

At least 73 people were arrested in demonstrations in Cameroon 01 June 2019 as thousands of supporters of Maurice Kamto, the man who they said won the October 7 presidential election, defied a heavy police presence and staged protests in several towns of the central African state. They were seeking the immediate release of their party leader, among other things, and scores of his supporters have been jailed since January 2019. At least a dozen people, including Kamto's first vice president, Mamadou Mota of the MRC party, have been arrested and detained in Yaounde and Douala.

Lejeune Mbella Mbella, Cameroon's minister of External Relations, warned any political action or initiative that questions the legitimacy and legality of Paul Biya as president of Cameroon is tantamount to undermining Cameroon state sovereignty and is intended to disrupt public peace. He says the country's constitutional council examined and threw out as baseless all petitions filed by those who contested the election and Cameroon's institutions.

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