Paul Biya has been re-elected president of Cameroon for his seventh term, winning 71.28 percent of the votes, the Constitutional Council announced on Monday.
The candidate of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) Maurice Kamto came second with 14.23 percent of votes, while Joshua Osih of the main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) collected only 3.35 percent.
Nine candidates competed in the Oct. 7 election.
According to official statistics, 3,590,681 of 6,667,754 registered voters cast their ballots, making a turnout of 53.85 percent, compared with 65.82 percent in 2011 and 82.83 percent in 2004.
The turnout was low in the English-speaking zone, which is the SDF’s base, where less than 10 percent of registered voters cast their ballots, amid threats from armed secessionists to disrupt the polls.
For two years, the English-speaking minority, representing 20 percent of the national population, have protested against what they described as marginalization and “francization” vis-à-vis the central government.
Armed clashes between Cameroonian security forces and separatists, now considered by the government as terrorists, have caused heavy casualties. Many were displaced.
Biya, 85, has been in office since 1982.
In the next seven years, he will continue “the decentralization in a united and indivisible Cameroon,” Biya said during his campaign.
On Oct. 19, the Constitutional Council rejected the last of 18 post-election petitions demanding the cancellation of the poll.
The Constitutional Council’s president, Clement Atangana, said the election was “free, transparent, peaceful, and credible.”
According to the electoral code, Biya is expected to take oath of office in no more than 15 days.