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International Poll Monitors Arrive to Monitor Cameroon Vote

Cameroon's President Paul Biya waves to supporters during the opening of his party conference, in Yaounde, on September 15, 2011.

The chairman of Cameroon’s electoral board (ELECAM) says his organization expects the last batch of international observers to arrive Wednesday to monitor the October 9 general elections.

Samuel Fonkam says the electoral body will organize a forum for the poll monitors ahead of the vote.

The ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MINATD) is mandated to issue accreditation to the poll monitors. It says about nine thousand observers filed applications to monitor next week’s vote.

MINATD also issued an observers’ code, which stipulates the duties, rights and responsibilities of the international monitors.

The international monitors include “a delegation from the francophone countries, the Central African Economic Community and we’re also expecting the Carter Center,” said Fonkam.

Fonkam said ELECAM is prepared to work closely with election monitors.

“We expect that they will come in and get acquainted with the legal framework...and what the constitution says,” said Fonkam. “Until they know what the law says, they cannot say whether what we are doing is in consonance or not.”

He adds the electoral body is scheduled to meet the poll monitors this week to explain its expectations ahead of the general elections.

“We are planning to hold a briefing session with all the observers before they go down to the field,” said Fonkam. “We will try to assist them in providing information they need in order to carry out this exercise in a meaningful manner.”

The electoral commission says about seven million Cameroonians have registered to vote in next week’s election. They include, for the first time, citizens outside Cameroon, who will be eligible to vote in the country’s embassies and consulates around the world.