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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
Fraud claim in Cameroon poll
President Paul Biya
President Biya has been in power for 20 years
The opposition in Cameroon has said that Sunday's parliamentary and municipal elections were marred by fraud and should be annulled.

The leader of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF), John Fru Ndi, said many voters had not been given voting cards in time for the poll or had not been registered.


If Mr Biya is a man who has a conscience, he should cancel the election

John Fru Ndi

But Communication Minister Jacques Same Ndongo said polling had been transparent.

President Paul Biya's governing Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (RDPC) is trying to extend its majority in parliament, where it already holds 116 of the 180 seats.

Forty-seven parties are competing in the national assembly vote and 27 in local elections.

State radio put the turnout at less than 50%.

Printing press

Correspondents say voting appeared to have passed off peacefully, and that the results were expected to tighten the hold on power of Mr Biya, who has been in power since 1982.

National electoral observers said there had been some organisational problems even after voting had been delayed for a week because of poor preparation.

The state-run printing press had not finished printing all the ballots. Opposition leaders said the problems demonstrated the failings of Mr Biya's government.

On Friday, thousands of supporters of the main opposition party, the SDF stormed administrative offices in the commercial capital, Douala, demanding their voter cards.

The SDF has accused the administrative authorities in the city of being biased towards the ruling party.

Some opposition supporters had threatened to disrupt the ballot.

However, no incidents have been reported.

Anglo grievances

Legislative elections were last held in Cameroon in 1997.

At the time the opposition claimed massive vote fraud and called - unsuccessfully - for the results to be annulled.

Multi-party politics was introduced in 1992 and Mr Biya was re-elected president.

Besides being home to about 250 ethnic groups, Cameroon has a small English-speaking region in the west.

French is the official language elsewhere.

English-speakers say they are treated as second-class citizens and have lobbied for years for autonomy or secession.

See also:

23 Jun 02 | Africa
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07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
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