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Cameroon: Assembly extends mandate of deputies until 2026

In this Oct. 7, 2018 file photo, Cameroonian President Paul Biya during the presidential elections in Yaoundé   -  
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Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.


Cameroonian President Paul Biya on Tuesday won approval from lawmakers to push back legislative and local elections until 2026, a move opposition parties fear will complicate their ability to contest next year's presidential election.

Lawmakers from Mr Biya's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM), who hold the majority in the National Assembly, voted in favour of the bill extending their term by one year, until March 2026. Thus, legislative and municipal elections will take place after the 2025 presidential poll.

This postponement was justified by the need to "lighten the electoral calendar", according to François Wakata Bolvine, Minister Delegate to the Presidency, the country having initially planned four elections for next year, including that of the regional councils.

At 91, Mr Biya is one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents. Succeeding Ahmadou Ahidjo in 1982, he has won a series of elections, including the last in 2018, marred by allegations of fraud by his opponents.

The electoral code stipulates that a presidential candidate must be nominated by a political party represented in the National Assembly, the Senate, the Regional or Municipal Council, or obtain the recommendation of at least 300 personalities. Maurice Kamto, Biya's main challenger in 2018, has no such representation, his party having boycotted the last municipal and legislative elections for lack of electoral reforms.

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