E. Guinea goes to polls tomorrow
Equatorial Guinea will vote in parliamentary elections on Sunday where the opposition, facing many hurdles but buoyed by rallies, is hoping for a breakthrough at the expense of the ruling party.
The election is expected to be dominated by the party of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema who has ruled the tiny oil-rich nation for 37 years.
His Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) controls 99 per cent of seats in parliament, over which it has held sway since single-party rule was scrapped in 1991.
But opposition parties hope to make gains, even if they say they have no access to state media, which regularly broadcasts campaign ads by PDGE and whose broadcasts only cover meetings by the president’s party.
Internet is censored in the country, opposition websites have been blocked since 2013, and Facebook has been blocked since the official start of campaigns on October 27.
One party, Citizens for Innovation (CI), has generated a buzz in capital Malabo.
It has never taken part in elections but its rallies typically draw thousands.
“We will contest 97 per cent of seats so if the elections are free, and with the popularity enjoyed by our party, we hope to win,” said CI leader Gabriel Nse Obiang, a former soldier who has returned to the country after 13 years’ exile in Spain.
He was barred from contesting presidential elections in 2016 as he had not lived in the country for five consecutive years — and was excluded from Sunday’s ballot too after being sentenced to six months’ jail for “serious insults” against the ruling party.
CI said some of its candidates were arrested and supporters injured in clashes with police on Sunday. (AFP)