Cameroonian presidential election, 2004
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Biya came to power in 1982 and by 2004 had ruled Cameroon for 22 years. Multi-party democracy was introduced for the 1992 election but Biya was accused of rigging the election to ensure victory. The last presidential election in 1997 saw Biya re-elected with 93% of the vote after opposition parties boycotted the election. The expectation before the 2004 election was that Biya would be re-elected to another term of office, with no chance that anyone else would be able or allowed to defeat him.
After announcing that the presidential election would be held on 11 October, Biya confirmed on 16 September that he would stand for re-election. Before his announcement there had been calls from groups such as university lecturers and over 100 former footballers for him to stand again.
Biya was opposed by 15 other candidates after the opposition failed to agree on a single candidate. A 10-party coalition nominated Adamou Ndam Njoya for the election, but his candidacy was rejected by the veteran opposition politician John Fru Ndi who decided to stand as well. Fru Nidi said that he should have been selected instead of Njoya as Fru Nidi's Social Democratic Front had more elected members. Fru Ndi was an anglophone from western Cameroon who had stood in the 1992 election, while Adamou Ndam Njoya was a Muslim francophone from northern Cameroon.
Biya initially did not campaign in the election and only made his first campaign stop within the last week before polling day. Biya described his opponents as inexperienced and said that he was only person who could prevent anarchy in Cameroon. He also pledged to improve education, health and women's rights, as well as decentralising and developing industry and tourism. One of Biya's campaign slogans was "Free mosquito nets for pregnant mothers" but there was significant scepticism over the pledges made by Biya after the failure to achieve ones made in previous elections.
The opposition candidates said that the government had mismanaged the economy and failed to address widespread poverty. John Fru Ndi attracted the most supporters to his rallies of any of the opposition candidates, with up to 30,000 attending his rally in Douala. He pledged to restore previous wage scales for workers, to reduce corruption and poverty, scrap fees at university and remove taxation from small businesses.
Opposition candidates criticised the election as having seen significant amounts of multiple voting and that security forces had harassed opposition agents at polling stations. They described the election as having been rigged and appealed to the Supreme Court to annul the results. However most international observers said that despite some shortcomings the election was mainly satisfactory. These included a group of former United States congressmen who called the election "fair and transparent"; however, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues dissented and said that the election had seen many irregularities.
On 25 October 2004 the Supreme Court confirmed the results and rejected the complaints from the opposition. The final results saw Biya secure 70.9% of the vote against 17.4% for his nearest rival John Fru Ndi.
|Paul Biya||Cameroon People's Democratic Movement||2,665,359||70.92|
|John Fru Ndi||Social Democratic Front||654,066||17.40|
|Adamou Ndam Njoya||Cameroon Democratic Union||168,318||4.48|
|Garga Haman Adji||Alliance for Democracy and Development||140,372||3.74|
|Justin Mouafo||Nationalism of Cameroonian Patriots||14,915||0.40|
|Yondo Mandengue Black||Social Movement for New Democracy||13,601||0.36|
|Anicet Ekane||Social Movement for New Democracy||13,290||0.35|
|Fritz Pierre Ngo||Cameroon Ecological Movement||13,122||0.35|
|Jean Michel Tekam||Party of Social Democracy||12,785||0.34|
|Victorin Hameni Bieuleu||Union of Democratic Forces||11,920||0.32|
|Boniface Forbin||Justice and Development Party||10,542||0.28|
|Djeukam Tchameni||Movement for Democracy and Interdependence||10,539||0.28|
|Jean-Jacques Ekindi||Progressive Movement||10,158||0.27|
|Hubert Kamgang||Union of African Populations||7,508||0.20|
|George Dobgima Nyamndi||Social Liberal Congress||6,730||0.18|
|Gustave Essaka||Cameroon Integral Democracy||4,996||0.13|
|Source: African Elections Database|
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