Peaceful Parliamentary and Municipal Elections Held in Cameroon

cameroon voteParliamentary and Municipal Elections have been held in Cameroon. On Monday 30 September 2013, about 5.4 million Cameroonians went to the polls to vote for 180 members into the National Assembly in Parliamentary elections and 10,600 councilors for 360 councils in municipal or local elections.

“All across the national territory, the election of Members of Parliament and Municipal Councilors took place against a backdrop of peace, calm, tranquility and transparency”. This assertion by Cameroon’s Election Commission (ELECAM) has also been widely confirmed by several foreign election observer missions that were in Cameroon to monitor the elections.

In all, there were about 22,000 polling stations countrywide. Most polling stations opened from 7:00am local time and closed 10 hours later at 17:00pm. For security reasons, Cameroon’s borders were closed from Saturday 28th September and re-opened on Tuesday 1st of October 2013, the day after the vote.

Over 30 political parties put up candidates in the legislative elections. The major parties involved were the ruling party; Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) headed by His Excellency President Paul Biya, The Social Democratic Front (SDF), The National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP) of Bello Bouba Maigari; Cameroon Renaissance Movement of Prof Maurice Kamto etc etc.

After casting his vote, the Head of State, His Excellency President Paul Biya told reporters that “There has been a great progress in Cameroon’s democratic system….”

Election Monitors and International Observer Missions

According to a disclosure by Cameroon’s Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization on Tuesday 24th September 2013, some 15,000 polling observers were expected to monitor the September 30 legislative and municipal elections. The major International Observer missions that took part were notably:

1)    The African Union Election Observer Mission led by H. E John Agyekum Kufor, former President of the Republic of Ghana. The mission was comprised of 40 observers drawn from the Pan-African Parliament, African Ambassadors to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Election Management Bodies and Civil Society Organizations from various African countries.

2)    The Commonwealth Expert Team headed by Mr. Irfan Abdool Rahman (Electoral Commissioner) from Mauritius

3)    International Francophone Organization (OIF)

4)    Transparency International (TI)

5)    The National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (CNDHL) and

6)    The Catholic Church of Cameroon.

To this effect, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization in its September 24 disclosure added that: “The decision of the Cameroonian authorities to accept the deployment of such a large number of observers from various bodies is a testimony of their willingness to meet the conditions for the holding of free, fair and transparent elections”.

On his part, the head of Cameroon’s Electoral commission, ELECTIONS CAMEROON (ELECAM), Mr. Samuel Fonkam Azu’u has declared that the September 30 vote went smoothly and that the turnout was “quite impressive”.

In a press release sent out by the head of ELECAM, Mr. Fonkam states that: “Following the end of operations of the twin elections of 30 September, 2013, the President of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), on behalf of this Election Management Body, expresses its gratitude to electors from all walks of life, for their demonstration of a high sense of civic duty and patriotism during the polling operations”.

The ELECAM boss added that: “no major incident has been reported whether in the material organization of the pool or in its conduct as a whole”. He continued that “Election materials were available in all polling stations”…”vote counting operations encountered no hitches, and a copy of the report of results obtained at every polling station was duly handed to those members of the polling station who signed it, as prescribed by law”.

The Press Releases also insisted that, “ELECAM intends to conduct an objective assessment of all the electoral operations and shall, for future elections, take necessary measures to improve any aspects found wanting”.

ELECAM concludes by thanking all Stakeholders of the electoral process, “notably the candidates and political parties that took part in the polls, as well as observers, for their responsible behaviour in strict respect of the Code of Conduct adopted and signed on 20 September, 2011.”

Results of parliamentary elections are expected to be announced within two weeks, according to ELECAM. It should be recalled that in the last parliamentary elections of 2007 the ruling CPDM won 157 of the 180 seats in the National Assembly.

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