On Monday, February 17, the Constitutional Council in Yaoundé is due to participate in the first hearing requesting the partial or total cancelation of the February 9 municipal and legislative elections in certain districts due to allegations of ballot and election irregularities, corruption, and other acts of intimidation. After a series of hearings, the Court is expected to announce the results of the legislative elections by Sunday, February 29, at the latest. The results of the municipal elections were announced on Wednesday, February 12; the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) will lead in 316 of Cameroon's 360 municipalities.
A heightened security presence and political rallies or demonstrations are expected throughout the country during the hearings and in the lead up to the announcement of the results. Clashes between Anglophone and Francophone communities, as well as between rival political supporters are possible in the coming days and weeks.
6,800,000 voters were registered for the legislative and municipal elections, including 970,000 in the English-speaking regions. Although Cameroonian authorities expressed satisfaction with the conduct and turnout of the elections despite opposition boycott and separatist threats of violence in Anglophone regions, the turnout was reported to be low in both areas.
On January 3 separatist leaders in the Anglophone regions announced that a six-day lockdown will be imposed from February 7 to February 12 to prevent elections from taking place. 120 candidates have been kidnapped by separatist forces in the Northwest and Southwest regions in recent months. Five separatist militants were reportedly killed on February 9 as they reportedly attempted to attack polling stations.
Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities are high in the Northwest and Southwest regions amid an ongoing separatist movement. Tensions have escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The United Nations reported that at least 50,000 Cameroonians have fled the fighting to Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2016.
Individuals in Cameroon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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