October 22, 2011 / 8:26 AM / in 6 years

Biya wins re-election in Cameroon: Supreme Court

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Cameroon President Paul Biya won re-election by a widely expected landslide, according to results issued by the central African state’s top court on Friday, amid complaints from the opposition of fraud.

Biya, 78, took over 77.9 percent of the votes against a field of more than 20 opposition candidates, allowing him to extend his 29-year rule of the oil producer nation for another 7-year term.

“By consequence of obtaining the majority of votes cast, candidate Paul Biya is declared President of the Republic,” Alexis Dipanda Mouelle, Chief Justice of Cameroon’s Supreme Court said following a marathon eight-hour reading of results.

Opposition candidates, including the main Social Democratic Front of John Fru Ndi who took 10 percent of the vote, had asked the court to annul the results and set a new election amid allegations of fraud, and warned of protests if their demands were rejected.

The court dismissed that appeal on Thursday.

Cameroon is the world’s fifth largest cocoa producer and the region’s breadbasket, supplying food to Chad, Central African Republic, Congo Republic and Gabon. It also hosts the Chad-Cameroon crude oil pipeline.

But its economic growth has underperformed some of its neighbours and the local media and opposition have criticised Biya for allowing corruption, red tape and nepotism to fester.

Biya, one of Africa’s longest serving presidents, altered the constitution in 2008 to remove term limits sparking off days of street riots.

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