Obiang obtains 997 of the votes in the elections in

Obiang obtains 99.7% of the votes in the elections in Equatorial Guinea amid complaints of “massive fraud” | International

The President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, addresses the press after voting in Malabo this Sunday.SAMUEL OBIANG (AFP)

The first partial results of the elections held this Sunday in Equatorial Guinea leave no room for surprise and give a huge victory to the country’s president, Teodoro Obiang, who will continue in office. With 324 polling stations (21.8%), Obiang’s Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) obtained 67,196 votes (99.7%), while the Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS), led by the only rival opponent, Andrés Esono, remains a long way behind with 152 votes, that is, 0.2%, as announced on Sunday night by the Minister of the Interior, Faustino Ndong Esono. The opposition denounces fraud.

“I am sure that the victory belongs to the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE),” Obiang said on Sunday after voting at his polling station in Malabo, the country’s capital. For his part, the opposition CPDS denounced a “massive fraud” in a statement. “Election day (…) is taking place in the midst of scandalous and widespread irregularities (…) If the man is declared victorious as a result of these scandalously fraudulent elections, CPDS will not recognize his victory and will consider him an illegitimate president,” the note from press made public this Sunday.

Among the irregularities, the opposition denounces that voters have been forced to choose only one ballot in front of the table, the vote of relatives for absent persons; the refusal to allow CPDS auditors to attend the voting; PDGE candidates presiding over polling stations, absence of opposition ballots or voters who vote several times. All this in an atmosphere of coercion towards those who have participated in the electoral acts or belong to the aforementioned CPDS.

Teodoro Obiang, 80, has been in power since 1979, when he led a coup against his uncle Francisco Macías, the only two presidents this small country of 1.5 million people has known since its independence from Spain in 1968. In fact, he is the longest-serving head of state in the world, not counting monarchies. In these 43 years, he has not allowed even the slightest hint of dissent and has controlled all the levers of power, crushing all criticism of his management and imprisoning opponents and activists who dared to question his power, as organizations have repeatedly denounced. of human rights, who consider the Obiang dictatorship one of the toughest in all of Africa.

“Actually, you can’t talk about elections in Equatorial Guinea,” says Joaquín Eló, coordinator of the civil society platform Somos Más. “The basis of the elections lies in respect for the law and the exercise of individual and collective”, continues Eló. “If not even the parents of the teenagers arrested in May in the so-called Operation Cleanup are capable of knowing the whereabouts of their children, how dare we think that they can have the freedom to alter the imposed political leadership? Without freedom, there are very few chances for anything.” In the opinion of this activist, the elections are marked by “violations of the Constitution and basic rights” and the results are “confirmation of the absence of elections, the x-ray that rights and obligations in Equatorial Guinea are non-existent.”

Some 427,000 Equatorial Guineans were called to the polls this Sunday to elect a president, but also to renew the Congress and the Senate and the country’s city councils. The Government decided to bring forward the presidential elections, scheduled for 2023, and combine them with the legislative and municipal elections with the aim, according to its version, of saving costs. The electoral process has had observers from the African Union, the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

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In the last legislative elections, held in 2017, the PDGE won all the seats in both Chambers, except one in Congress, which went to the opposition Ciudadanos por la Innovación (CI). However, this party was outlawed a year later by court ruling after some 40 members of it were convicted of an alleged coup attempt. The CI leader, Gabriel Nsé, tried to take advantage of a political amnesty dictated by Obiang in 2018 and attend the elections held this Sunday, but last September the party headquarters was assaulted by the police and the main CI leaders are detained or hidden.

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