30 November 2009

Equatorial Guinea: President Confident of Electoral Landslide

So confident is President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of the outcome of Equatorial Guinea's election on Sunday that he expects to win by the same margin as in 2002 - with 97.1 percent of the vote, reports Le Pays of Ouagadougou.

The newspaper also reports that Obiang Nguema, who came to power in a coup in 1979, could very possibly achieve his objective, since the only opposition leader in the country's parliament, Plácido Micó Abogo, is not strong enough to provide a real challenge to the ruling party.

Moreover, says the paper, all state power is concerntrated in the hands of the president and his associates, who will do everything to make sure he gets re-elected.

The presidential candidate of l'Action Populaire de Guinée Equatoriale (APGE), Carmelo Mba Bacale, withdrew on the eve of the elections, citing the lack of transparency in the election process, reported Gabonews of Libreville.

According to Info plus Gabon, Obiang Nguema declared on Sunday evening that he was satisfied with the elections and praised the voters for their maturity. He was quoted as calling on citizens to remain vigilant as "most countries envy the rapid development the country has gone through, but we should not forget the fact that a couple of years ago we were ranked among the poorest countries on the planet."

But Micó Abogo criticized the ruling party for using 10 billion francs of state funds for its election campaign, reports Le Potentiel of Kinshasa. He said it would be impossible for the ruling party to justify the use of these funds, since they had been acquired by officials through corruption and racketeering.

Meanwhile, Radio France Internationale was quoted as saying that according to the rights group, Human Rights Watch, it was doubtful that the electoral authorities had the independence to give the election credibility.

Results of the elections are expected on December 3 with the final declaration of the winner on December 7.

Compiled and translated by Michael Tantoh from reports in Le Pays, Gabonews, Le Potentiel and Info plus Gabon

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