The European Union will not deploy observers to Cameroon for next month’s presidential election due to limited resources, the agency confirmed.
The worldwide actor in international election observation has said in a mailed response that it was obliged to priorities the beneficiary countries.
“An election observation mission of the European Union is indeed not scheduled for Cameroon for the presidential elections on October 7. In general terms, resources are limited,” the EU Delegation to Cameroon confirmed.
It will be the first time since the return to multiparty politics in Cameroon in 1990 that a presidential poll will take place without observers from the 28-member bloc.
However, the EU said it was still ready to deploy observers for subsequent elections should the government invite them on time.
“We remain, of course, available for further discussion [with Cameroon] on electoral issues and on the broader reform process,” the EU said.
“Should the Cameroonian authorities issue an invitation, we might be able to consider the possibility of an observation mission or an electoral expert’s mission for the legislative elections scheduled for 2019,” the EU promised.
An African Union (AU) mission has been assessing the electoral process in Cameroon. The 12-member long-term observation mission arrived on September 5 and will remain in the country until October 19, “to comprehensively assess the electoral process in line with the African Union Long Term Election Observation Methodology,” according an AU statement.
The Long Term Observation Mission, consisting of four core team of analysts and eight Long-Term Observers (LTOs), will be joined by a Short Term Observation Mission close to the polls, from September 28 to October 10.
Nine candidates, including the incumbent President Paul Biya, are in the race after being cleared by the polls agency, ELECAM, out of 28 aspirants.
The nine candidates and their supporters have been crisscrossing the country since the official launch of campaigns last Saturday to woo potential voters with their various manifestos.
Observers say the failure by the opposition to present a single candidate increased the chances of the incumbent as Cameroon has a one-round election system. A candidate only requires garnering the most votes to be declared winner.
Separatists have threatened to impose a ‘state of emergency’ on the troubled English-peaking Northwest and Southwest regions ahead the vote.
Anglophone separatist activists, who have been clamoring for secession and the creation of the Republic of Ambazonia, have warned that they would not allow any election organized by the Yaoundé regime to take place in “their country”.
They have also announced there would be no movement in and out of the territory from September 25 to October 10, but the government has vowed that the election would take place in a serene atmosphere nationwide.
Source: Ndi Eujeune Ndi , The East African