APAnews | President Paul Biya, candidate for a seventh term, is seeking re-election in Cameroon, where voting got under way Sunday at 8 am local time (7 am GMT), including Sangmelima (south of the country) the birthplace of Biya.
Voters turned our massively, in most polling stations in the country, against the backdrop of strong presence of security forces guarding key areas, including administrative buildings and other government infrastructure.
Erik Essousse, the Chief Electoral Officer, in a first statement made three hours after the start of voting announced that the presidential election in Cameroon is being conducted “normally” and there was “nothing special to report.”
ELECAM, the body responsible for managing elections in the country has opened nearly 26,000 polling stations across the country, 3,000 of which were relocated due to the insecurity in the English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West of Cameroon.
Election observers including those of the African Union (AU) are visible on the ground. In a statement made this weekend, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guteres said elections should be held in a “peaceful and inclusive” atmosphere, so that peace prevails “before, during and after” the vote.
Eight presidential hopefuls are participating in the simple majority vote. The incumbent Paul Biya (85) has ruled the country for 36 years, and is expected to be re-elected for a seventh term.
The 6,598,553 eligible voters, including 18,574 from the diaspora, are choosing from a pool of eight contestants among them incumbent president Paul Biya, 85, the flag-bearer of the ruling Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People (CPDM), the scholar Adamou Ndam Njoya (76) of the Democratic Union of Cameroon-UDC, a lawyer Cabral Libii Lingue (39) of the Party Universe and an economist Serge Espoir Matomba (39) of the People United for Social Renovation-Purs.
The other candidates are the civil administrator Garga Haman Adji (74) of the Alliance for Democracy and Development-ADD), an aeronautical entrepreneur Joshua Osih (49) of the Democratic Social Front-SDF, Pastor Evangelist Ndifor Afanwi Franklin (39) of the Cameroon National Citizen Movement-MCNC, a scholar and lawyer Maurice Kamto (64) of the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon-MRC