Cameroon President Delays Parliamentary and Local Elections to 2026

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YAOUNDE, July 9 (Reuters) – Cameroonian President Paul Biya has received approval from lawmakers to postpone parliamentary and local elections until 2026, a move that opposition parties fear could hinder their efforts in the 2025 presidential election.

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Lawmakers from Biya’s Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, holding a majority in the National Assembly, voted to extend their mandate by a year to March 2026. Consequently, legislative and municipal elections will now occur after the presidential poll in 2025.

François Wakata Bolvine, the presidency’s minister delegate in charge of relations with the assemblies, stated that the delay was necessary to “lighten the electoral calendar,” as four polls, including regional council elections, were initially scheduled for next year.

Biya, 91, has been in power since 1982 and has won several elections, with the most recent in 2018 being labeled fraudulent by opponents. Opposition lawmaker Joshua Osih, chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party, condemned the delay as undemocratic.

Many in the opposition are concerned that the extension could weaken their challenge to Biya. Holding legislative and municipal elections next year could have provided momentum ahead of the presidential election in October 2025.

The electoral code requires a presidential candidate to be nominated by a political party with representation in the National Assembly, Senate, Regional Council, or Municipal Council, or through a recommendation from at least 300 dignitaries. Maurice Kamto, Biya’s main challenger in 2018, lacks such representation as his party boycotted the last municipal and legislative elections due to the lack of electoral reforms

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