The party of President Paul Biya, who has ruled Cameroon for more than 40 years, unsurprisingly won all 70 seats in the indirectly elected Senate on March 12, the Constitutional Council announced Thursday.
The 90-year-old omnipotent head of state must also appoint 30 more senators in the next 10 days.
The Rassemblement démocratique du peuple camerounais (RDPC) has even strengthened its total domination of the upper house of parliament since the opposition had seven seats in the outgoing Senate.
The CPDM lists, which came out on top in each of Cameroon’s ten administrative regions, won all the seats in each of these regions, according to the results read out by Clement Atangana, the president of the Constitutional Council, during a ceremony broadcast live on CRTV, the public television.
In the ten regions of this central African country of some 28 million inhabitants, 10 parties had presented candidates to 11,134 electors: regional councillors, municipal councillors and traditional chiefs.
The CPDM was the only party to present lists in all ten regions. It controls 316 of Cameroon’s 360 communes.
In the National Assembly, Mr. Biya’s party and its allies also have an overwhelming majority of 164 deputies out of 180, elected in February 2020.
The only issue at stake in the senatorial elections is the election, once the 30 additional senators are appointed by the head of state, of the president of the Senate, who is constitutionally responsible for the interim in case of vacancy at the head of power. But he must organise a presidential election within 120 days, in which he is not allowed to run.
The incumbent, Marcel Niat Njifenji, 88, who is very close to Mr Biya, has held the post for 10 years.
The “succession” of Paul Biya is on everyone’s lips. In case of death or incapacity of the president, the CPDM will have to designate a successor who will have every chance of winning the presidential election. But no personality, even among those closest to Mr. Biya, dares to step forward publicly.
Paul Biya has ruled Cameroon since 1982 with an iron fist, regularly accused by the UN and international NGOs of ruthlessly repressing the opposition in the streets and a bloody separatist rebellion in the two western regions populated mainly by the English-speaking Cameroonian minority.