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Cameroon court rejects all petitions calling for re-run of elections

Cameroon court rejects all petitions calling for re-run of elections
FILE PHOTO: Maurice Kamto, a presidential candidate of Renaissance Movement (MRC), walks with his staff after his news conference at his headquarter in Yaounde, Cameroon October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra   -   Copyright  ZOHRA BENSEMRA(Reuters)
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YAOUNDE (Reuters) – Cameroon’s Constitutional Council on Friday rejected the last of 18 petitions calling for a re-run of an Oct. 7 election that the opposition said was marred by fraud, paving the way for results expected to extend President Paul Biya’s 36-year rule.

The rejections clear all legal objections to the polls. Nearly two weeks after the vote, no results have been announced but under national law authorities have until Monday to do so.

Biya is seeking a seventh term that would see him keep his place as one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. The only current African president to have ruled longer is Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

But allegations of voter intimidation, violence and ballot-stuffing cast doubt over the election, prompting the three main opposition candidates, and other prominent political figures, to call for the cancellation of results.

“We reject in totality the results” of the elections, said Paul Eric Kingue, the campaign manager for opposition candidate Maurice Kamto, whose call for a re-run of the poll in seven regions was rejected late on Thursday. “Paul Biya is not our president.”

Candidates Joshua Osih and Cabral Libii asked for the results to be cancelled and the election to be re-run. The court rejected Libii’s appeal late on Tuesday because it said it was filed one hour after the deadline.

Osih’s appeal was rejected in the early hours of Friday morning.

“We as Cameroonians should be ashamed of what is currently happening in front of this high jurisdiction we call the Constitutional Council,” Nkou Mvondo Prosper, President of Libii’s Univers party said.

The elections went ahead with scattered instances of violence in the Anglophone South West and North West regions where a separatist insurgency is trying to split from Yaounde. In those regions, which hold about a quarter of the country’s 24 million population, most did not vote for fear of violence.

(The story corrects day in second paragraph to Monday)

(Reporting By Josiane Kouageu; Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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