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Opposition Parties in Cameroon Seek Election Cancellation - 2004-10-12


The two main opposition parties in Cameroon are asking for the cancellation of Monday's presidential vote, alleging the whole process was fraudulent. This comes as the government and state media give long-time President Paul Biya a wide lead in the vote counting.

The two parties, the Social Democratic Front and the Democratic Union of Cameroon could not agree on a single candidate for the election, but they now agree on demanding the vote's cancellation.

Lawyers from the two parties are working to prepare their official complaint, which is to be presented at the Supreme Court.

Their main point of contention is that the vote was called just 29 days before it took place, violating a Cameroonian law calling for a minimum 30-day period.

Lawyers for the two parties say they will also bring up other complaints, such as alleged intimidation of opposition representatives at polling stations, multiple voting by government supporters, the use of ink to identify voters which was not indelible and attacks on opposition militants.

A member of the Social Democratic Front communication team, Jean Takougang, says everything must be done to prevent President Biya from remaining in power.

"It means Cameroon is going to sink," he said. "For 23 years, Cameroon is dying. The standard of living has gone down to the year 1960. I don't know if Cameroon will ever be a country again. It is sorry, very sorry for Cameroonians."

The opposition parties also released a communiqué calling on Cameroonians not to be duped by results being released by the government and state media.

One of those who worked on the communiqué, Aloysius Ajang, warned many opposition militants could soon take to the streets.

"It is quite understandable due to the nature in which the elections and the aftermath of the elections is being treated whereby the administration and the public media, which does not reflect the reality on the field, and which is simply an emanation of the machinery of fraud which has been set up right from the outset of these elections," he said.

The government released initial results early Tuesday saying turnout was above 80 percent and that Mr. Biya had an overwhelming lead in most polling stations which had already released results.

It gave no overall figure, but later, state radio said Mr. Biya led in nine out of ten provinces.

While voting on Monday, Mr. Biya called on Cameroonians to peacefully respect the verdict of the vote.

A small Commonwealth team and U.S. diplomats were among those monitoring the vote, but they have yet to release their assessments.

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