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Polls open for Equatorial Guinea presidential election

Polls open for Equatorial Guinea presidential election

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guineans are voting in presidential elections expected to retain the country’s long time ruler, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Over 300 thousand voters are expected to cast their ballot in the poll originally scheduled for November last year. It was moved to April 24 by a presidential decree.

Six candidates, Bonaventura Monsuy Asumu of the coalition Social Democratic Party, Carmelo Mba Bakale of the Popular Action of Equatorial Guinea, Avelino Mocache Mehenga of the Center Right Union and three independent candidates, Agustin Masoko Abegue, Benedicto Mba Obiang Mangue and Tomas Monabang are contesting the incumbent president.

But the opposition figures are largely unknown to many voters.

A coalition of the main opposition parties, the Democratic Opposition Front on March 23 called for a boycott of the election saying it would be rigged.

Observers from the African Union as well as the Central African Economic Community will be observing the process.

Benin’s former president, Thomas Boni Yayi is leading the AU observer mission.

The 73-year-old leader, currently Africa’s longest serving president, is leading a coalition of ten parties into the polls.

He came into power in a coup in 1979 which overthrew his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema who had ruled the country since independence from Spain in 1968.

Results from the polls are expected by Thursday April 28.

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