Home South Africa World’s longest-serving president aims to extend 43-year rule – SABC News

World’s longest-serving president aims to extend 43-year rule – SABC News

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Equatorial Guinea votes on Sunday in a general election in which President Theodore Obiang Nguema, the world’s longest-serving president, is expected to extend his 43-year rule at the helm of the tiny oil-producing West African nation.

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

Observers do not expect any surprises. Obiang, 80, has always been elected with more than 90% of the vote in elections whose fairness has been questioned by international observers, given long-standing complaints by human rights groups about the lack of political freedom.

He is running for a sixth term against two opposition candidates – Buenaventura Monsui Asumu, who is running for the sixth time against Obiang, and Andres Esan Ondo, who is running for the first time.

“The presidential election is completely devoid of tension,” said Maya Bovkon, senior analyst for Africa at risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft.

“Border closures and the persecution and arrests of opposition supporters pave the way for the extension of Obiang’s 43-year rule,” she said.

The United States and the European Union called for free and fair elections in separate statements and expressed concern over reports of harassment and intimidation of opposition and civil society groups.

The government rejected these reports, calling them interference in the election process.

Equatorial Guinea has had only two presidents since independence from Spain in 1968. Obiang overthrew his uncle Francisco Macias Ngema in a 1979 coup.

Wrapping up his campaign on Friday, Obiang said he decided to move the presidential election several months ahead and hold it together with legislative and municipal elections to save money due to the economic crisis.

Oil and gas production accounts for about three-quarters of the OPEC member country’s income. But output has fallen in recent years to about 93,000 barrels per day (bpd) from about 160,000 bpd in 2015 due to maturing fields.

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