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Ruling party retains sweeping majority in Cameroon

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Cameroon elections

President Paul Biya’s party has retained an absolute majority in Cameroon’s parliament, the constitutional council announced Friday after the controversial February 9 vote.

His Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC) won 139 out of 167 declared seats on “moderate” turnout of almost 46 percent, said the council’s president, Clement Atangana.

Elections were cancelled in 13 other seats, in Cameroon’s troubled anglophone regions, and are to be held at a later date.

In the outgoing parliament, elected in 2013, the RDPC had 148 seats.

Atangana said an RDPC ally, the National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP), won seven seats.

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The biggest opposition party in the outgoing assembly, the Social Democratic Front, which had 18 seats in the outgoing assembly, has seen its share fall to just five.

Voting day in the central African republic was overshadowed by the crisis in two regions where anglophone separatists have declared independence from the majority French-speaking country.

Separatist fighters had called on people there to boycott the poll and issued threats to anyone who planned to vote.

More than 3,000 people have died and at least 700,000 have fled their homes in the 29-month-old unrest.

Rights monitors say abuses have been committed by both sides.

Biya, 87, who has ruled for 37 years, has ruled out demands by moderates for restoring Cameroon’s federal structure.

However, the government has lately decentralised some of its powers after a “national dialogue” on the anglophone crisis which was boycotted by the separatists.

The country’s Far North, a tongue-like region lying between Nigeria and Chad, has meanwhile been battered by Boko Haram jihadists crossing from Nigeria.

VANGUARD

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