World’s longest-ruling leader holds vote to extend rule of tiny African state

DAKAR, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Equatorial Guinea’s President Theodore Obiang, the world’s longest-ruling leader, voted on Sunday to extend his 43-year rule in a small, authoritarian African state that has never There was a lot of oil wealth. A rapid decline.

“You reap what you sow,” said Obiang, 80, who has regularly won more than 90 percent of the vote in five terms since seizing power from his uncle in a coup in 1979. have done

“I believe the victory belongs to PDGE,” he said, referring to his party.

Two opposition candidates are standing: Bonaventure Monsui Asumu, who has already stood in the last five elections, and Andres Esuno Ondo, a first-time opposition candidate.

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“This is a total fraud,” Esuno Ondo told Reuters by phone, adding that his party would challenge the result in court.

He said there were some semblances of fair voting in the island’s capital, Malabo, but his party had evidence that officials were voting on behalf of voters elsewhere or forcing them to vote for the ruling party. were forcing

Officials from the government and Equatorial Guinea’s Directorate of Elections could not be reached for comment.

Maja Bukan, a senior Africa analyst at risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft, said the election results were in no doubt: “Border closures and the harassment and arrest of opposition supporters paved the way for Obiang to extend his 43-year term.” Happening. Rule.”

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The United States and the European Union called for free and fair elections, and expressed concern over reports of harassment and intimidation of opposition and civil society groups. The government rejected these allegations as interference in its electoral process.

Wrapping up his campaign on Friday, Obiang said he had decided to bring the presidential election forward by several months and hold it alongside legislative and local elections, to save money due to the economic crisis.

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Oil and gas production in OPEC member countries accounts for about three-quarters of revenue. But production has declined in recent years to about 93,000 barrels per day (bpd), from about 160,000 bpd in 2015, as oil fields mature.

More than 400,000 people registered to vote in the country of about 1.5 million. Voters will also vote to elect 100 members of parliament for the lower house, 55 of the country’s 70 senators and local mayors.

Reporting by Beth Felix; Edited by Cooper Inwin, Frances Carey, Peter Graff

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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