September 30 Twin Elections:Parties Under Pressure To Submit List Of Candidates

ELECAM Head Office Yaounde

ELECAM Head Office Yaounde

Political Parties in Cameroon, vying for the September 30, 2013, Municipal and Parliamentary elections, are under pressure to submit the files of their candidates as provided for by the electoral law.

This comes on the heels of a Presidential decree made public this Tuesday, July 02, convening electorates to the polls on September 30, for the election of Councillors and Members of Parliament. So far, only the leading opposition party, the Social Democratic Front, SDF, has run the primaries, while other political parties including the ruling Cameroon Peoples’ Democratic Movement, CPDM, are still to run the primaries within their respective parties to know those to contest on the banner of their respective parties in the elections.

Tuesday’s Presidential decree was in respect of provisions guiding the electoral code in Cameroon. According to section 86 subs 2, 3 and 4 of the electoral code guiding elections in the country, voting shall take place on a Sunday or a day declared public holiday. The decree specifies the opening and closing hours of the election from 8am to 6pm. Registration of potential voters was suspended instantly after the publication of the decree and electorates in the nation’s capital, Yaounde, have been rushing to retrieve their voters’ cards.

The convening of electorates comes at the dawn of press reports that financial difficulties were responsible for the repeated extensions, by Head of State, Paul Biya, of the mandates of Municipal councilors and Parliamentarians. According to the reports, the financial predicaments that hindered the convening of polls resulted from the fact that funding of the April 14 senatorial elections and the putting in place of the Senate was not included in the 2013 State budget.

To this effect, President Biya signed a decree on June 26, prolonging the mandate of Municipal councilors by three months. That is till October 1, while that of MPs will expire on June 23. The June 26 decree falls within the realm of the law, for, the decree was signed after consultation with the Bureau of Senate as provided for by the electoral law. All eyes have now been focused on the elections management body, ELECAM, on the preparation process towards the September appointment.

By Yerima Kini Nsom

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