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Cameroon faces long wait for election results

Yaoundé, Monday

Cameroon faces a long wait for results following a weekend presidential election marked by violence in restive anglophone regions, low turnout and difficulties staging the ballot in the conflict-torn north.

Sunday’s ballot followed a last-minute attempt by a weak opposition to unite to dislodge President Paul Biya, one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers who is widely expected to win a seventh term.

By law each polling station must submit its results, after verification by the Elecam electoral commission, to the Constitutional Court which is responsible for announcing the final, official tally within 15 days. “Two weeks! We’ve just finished counting here and I’m already getting news from other polling stations,” complained poll worker Francois, 22, after the ballot finished at one voting centre in Yaounde on Sunday night.

A raft of unofficial results from Cameroon’s almost 25,000 polling stations have already begun to circulate on social media.

Opposition candidates have called on their supporters to oversee the tallying process to prevent any fraud that might favour 85-year-old Biya’s quest for re-election.

“Times are tough. Rise up and prepare to defend your victory because there are some unbelievable things going on,” said outsider opposition hopeful, Cabral Libii, who at 38 was the youngest candidate.

Ahead of the polls, in which 6.5 million voters were eligible to cast ballots, one leading opposition candidate Maurice Kamto who was backed at the last minute by another opposition contender, warned he would “not accept any” result tainted by fraud.“Any challenge to the polling process made outside of legal channels will not be tolerated.”

Labour Minister Gregoire Owona, who is the deputy secretary-general of Biya’s ruling party, said on Twitter: “I strongly recommend that you don’t tie yourself to any violent, insurrection movement”.     — AFP

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