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Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 17:44 GMT
Equatorial Guinea candidate quits
A leading opposition candidate has pulled out of the presidential election in the central African state of Equatorial Guinea on the day of the poll.

The candidate, Celestino Bonifacio Bacale, who heads the Convergence for Social Democracy, said the election was fraudulent because people were not allowed to cast their votes in secret.

Mr Bacale's party had already accused President Teodoro Obiang Nguema and his Democratic Party of intimidation, falsifying voting lists and monopolising Equatorial Guinea's recently discovered oil wealth.

President Obiang is seeking to extend his 23 years in power.

He seized the presidency in a coup in 1979, overthrowing his uncle, who had led the country to independence from Spain.

He has twice been elected as president - both times with an official tally of more than 97% support.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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