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Cameroon Politics

Government and Politics of Cameroon

Ahidjo introduced one of the worst repressive regimes of the 1960s in southern Africa. European human rights groups stated that there were thousands of political prisoners in the country's prisons. Ahidjo resigned unexpectedly in 1982 and he was replaced by his former prime minister, lawyer Paul Biya. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of CM and its meanings of Cameroon.

Biya continued the political and economic line of the former government, but Ahidjo's supporters, in collaboration with people from the army, tried to conduct a coup d'état. It was the young people, especially the students, who at street fights went against the coup makers. The rise in unemployment and food shortages undermined the image of Cameroon as a welfare society. The president tried to strengthen his power in the accelerated elections in April 1984, when democratic organizations were banned, and he obtained re-election. However, the instability led to a new coup attempt and a series of bloody clashes that left 200 dead.

During this period, UNC was renamed the Cameroon's Democratic Group, the RDPC, but the policy was the same.

While the UPC tried to adopt a more flexible attitude to regain its social hinterland, Biya founded new provinces to weaken the economic and political influence of Muslims in the north. The oil extraction led to renewed ethnic conflicts and to rivalry between the English and French speakers. The problems that arose in the fall in world market prices for coffee, rubber and cotton were exacerbated by the reliance on a handful of French companies, which controlled almost 44% of all exports.

In 1988, Biya was re-elected. The press censorship became more stringent and Biya also assumed the post of prime minister.

In connection with the fall in oil prices and the financial burden associated with repayment of the external debt, the government introduced a structural adjustment program while trying to stabilize the country's finances with the assistance of the IMF and the World Bank. The debt was renegotiated with the Paris Club, and an agreement was reached based on a reduction in imports and government spending, privatization of public companies and a banking reform.

In 1990, social and political organizations accused the government of backing hundreds of Cameroon residents. Some months later, the government allowed the creation of political parties; about 70 political organizations became legal in this way.

In November 1991, opposition leaders demanded, in part, the reintroduction of the federal system abolished in 1972, and partly a constitutional reform. The country's political crisis worsened, with strikes and large demonstrations demanding the introduction of democracy. Police reprisals cost hundreds of people their lives.

In December, the government decided to hold elections to take place in February 1992. The opposition demanded a prior regulation of the Constitution and the electoral system, but several parties nevertheless participated in the elections that took place on March 1, 1992.

The RDCP won 88 of Parliament's 180 seats, while the UNDP captured 68. According to official figures, turnout was 61%.

Biya accelerated the holding of the presidential election until October 11, 1992, attended by representatives from 7 political parties. Among these was John Fru Ndi of the leading opposition party FSD representing the English speakers. Both the FSD and Cameroon's Democratic Union had boycotted the March 1992 election.

The government's victory of 39.98% of the vote against the FSD's 35.97% - under widespread suspicion of electoral fraud - led to riots in the northeastern English-speaking province - Mrs Ndi's base.

Despite declarations by the international election observers that election fraud had taken place, the Supreme Court rejected the declaration invalid. Mrs. Ndi appointed herself president. The government declared the northeastern province in an emergency, while Ms. Ndi and his supporters were placed under house arrest.

In November, a coalition government was formed with the participation of the RDCP and some smaller parties. The repression increased and led to international protests; especially when four members of the Bar Council were arrested in December for leading a demonstration - one of the lawyers died after torture. US stopped aid to Cameroon; Biya abrogated the state of emergency and released Ms. Ndi.

 

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