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09 Mar 2020 | 09:25 PM UTC

Cameroon: Partial legislative election reruns in Anglophone regions March 22 /update 3

Cameroon to hold partial legislative election reruns in Northwest and Southwest regions on March 22; election-related protests and violence possible

legal
security
CMR

Event

President Paul Biya announced on Friday, March 6, that partial legislative elections will rerun in parts of the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions on Sunday, March 22. Voting will be held in 11 constituencies and will take place from 08:00 until 18:00 (local time). The Cameroon Constitutional Council ordered the partial elections on February 25, after nullifying the results from the original February 9 vote due to irregularities caused by violence. Citizens will elect 13 representatives into the 180-seat National Assembly.

Associated political rallies and violence are possible in Northwest and Southwest regions in the days leading up to the election. A heightened security presence is anticipated around all election-related events and polling stations.

Context

The ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) party won 139 out of the 180 National Assembly seats in the February 9 elections. Although Cameroonian authorities expressed satisfaction with the conduct and turnout of the elections despite opposition boycott and separatist threats of violence in Anglophone regions, the turnout was reported to be low in both areas.

Separatist forces kidnapped 120 candidates in the Northwest and Southwest regions in the lead up to the elections. Five separatist militants were reportedly killed on February 9, as they reportedly attempted to attack polling stations.

Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities are high in the Northwest and Southwest regions amid an ongoing separatist movement. The situation has escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The United Nations reported that at least 50,000 Cameroonians have fled the fighting to Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2016.

Advice

Individuals in Cameroon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.