Print this article   Email this to a friend


Cameroon: electoral code does not address democratic concerns

29 May 2012

Following the presidential elections held on 9 October 2011 in Cameroon, the Socialist International renewed its clear call for true democracy in that country. Having followed developments in Cameroon over a number of years and having had representatives present during and in the run-up to the elections, the International identified a number of key areas of concern which would need to be addressed by the Cameroonian authorities in order for future elections in that country to meet internationally accepted standards.

In relation to the holding of the elections, the International stressed the need to address the biased composition and lack of independence of the electoral commission, known locally as ELECAM (Elections Cameroon). Without representation of civil society or opposition members, ELECAM’s independence was evidently questionable, not least because its board members were directly appointed by the President. Equally, SI representatives pointed to the need for a clear and precise electoral register and the importance of a single ballot paper to avoid abuses in the electoral process and guarantee equal opportunities to all candidates.

The SI member Social Democratic Front (SDF) and other opposition parties rightly made addressing these issues a key priority and central to their legitimate demands for a new electoral code. Though the President of Cameroon belatedly conceded to the adoption of an Electoral Code, this code does not address the fundamental shortcomings of the current electoral system.

The key demands of opposition parties for a framework that will guarantee their rights in future elections have not been met. Proposals made by the Cameroonian opposition, such as the vital need to overhaul ELECAM to make it a truly independent organisation, the implementation of biometric technology for use in the electoral process, and the abolition of presidential powers to create special constituencies have been ignored.

Despite earlier assurances from the prime minister that the code would be adopted on a consensual basis, measures that had the backing of the majority of Cameroonians have been rejected as unconstitutional. These demands, such as limiting the presidential mandate, holding a two-round presidential election, creating single constituencies for legislative elections and using a single ballot paper, could have been included in the electoral code with a constitutional amendment similar to the one which in 1996 permitted the incumbent president to stand for re-election. The importance of these measures is such that it is imperative for a constitutional amendment to be passed to allow the adoption of an electoral code that would guarantee free, fair and transparent elections.

The ruling party has once more shown by its actions that it is only pursuing superficial reforms that suit its own interests, making a mockery of their claims that the electoral code would be consensually elaborated. The absence of democracy in Cameroon and the determination of the regime to continue to hold power are at the heart of social and economic stagnation.

The dramatically low turnout in last year’s presidential elections is a reflection of the belief held by many that there is nothing they can do to have an impact on political life. To regain faith in the political process, the people need to see that the authorities are prepared to accept the will of the majority, a requirement that is regrettably absent from Cameroon’s present government. By ignoring demands for change and maintaining a façade of democracy, they are simply prolonging the critical political problems and their negative social and economic impact on the population.

The Socialist International reiterates its calls for a new electoral code that responds to the needs of Cameroon. We will continue to closely monitor the situation, in full support of the SDF and their endeavours to achieve true democracy and the recognition of all the rights of the people.

Socialist International

Report to the XXV SI Congress


Press coverage


SI in the News








in MemOriaM


Etienne Tshisekedi
1932 - 2017



Mário Soares
1924 - 2017

in memoriam

Charif Fayyad
Former Secretary General of the PSP, Lebanon
1937 - 2016


Member parties in government

List of SI member parties in government 


in MeMoriAM


Shimon Peres

1923 - 2016

Finances of the InternationAl

Budget and accounts


Michael Rocard

1930 - 2016

Member Party Congresses

in memorIam



in memORIAM


Mohamed Abdelaziz 
1947 - 2016

in memoRiam




2 April 2017

The Gambia
6 April 2017

9 April 2017

23 April 2017

11 June 2017


World Refugee Day


Report of the Secretary General

Resolutions and Decisions of the XXIV Congress



In support of democracy in Uganda

22 FEBRUARY 2016

In recent years the people of Africa have continued advancing and moving forward democratic governance in an important number of countries of the region. Today, more and more people in that continent enjoy freedoms and rights, a precondition for progress, development and peace. Members of the Socialist International in a good number of countries in Africa have been protagonists and actors of an era of change that has been bringing new opportunities and a new face to the political life of the continent. Nevertheless, authoritarianism, oppression and other evils of the past still linger in the political life of some of the countries in the region...


SI condemns terrorist attack in Ouagadougou

16 JANUARY 2016

The Socialist International vigorously condemns the terrorist attack carried out last night in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which has left 28 people dead from many different countries, responsibility for which has been claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims. 126 hostages were rescued by security forces following an operation to reclaim the hotel where the attack happened, during which a number of terrorists were killed. The Socialist International expresses its wholehearted solidarity with newly elected President Roch Marc Kaboré who assumed office at the end of December...


SI solidarity with Mali and President Keita following terrorist attack in Bamako

20 NOVEMBER 2015

The Socialist International is deeply saddened by the barbarous terrorist attack in Bamako early this morning, which has resulted in the death of numerous civilians in a hotel in the capital. Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with all those who are suffering and grieving as a result of this cowardly act of terror against innocent people with no chance to defend themselves. This attack is also an attack against democracy and against the efforts of the government and people of Mali to move the country forward. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is a leader that has made us all proud in our International, for his statesmanship, courage and commitment to securing a way forward for peace, democracy and economic progress for all the peoples of Mali...


Socialist International congratulates San Suu Kyi and NLD on historic election results

13 NOVEMBER 2015

The Socialist International warmly congratulates Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, NLD, on their historic victory following general elections held in Myanmar on 8 November. The results of these elections, in which close to 30 million people were eligible to vote, already show that with 80% of the contested seats now declared, the NLD have more than the two thirds needed to choose the President and put an end to more than 50 years of military rule. These elections, despite the role and influence of the military, has been seen as the first openly contested poll in Myanmar in twenty five years, when the NLD won by a large majority in national elections in 1990 but Aung San Suu Kyi was prevented from taking office by the military and spent several long periods under house arrest, which only ended in 2010....


Socialist International condemns terrorist attacks in Paris

14 NOVEMBER 2015

The Socialist International is deeply shocked and saddened by the horrific multiple terrorist attacks carried out last night in Paris by ISIS, which have left 129 dead and many injured. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims, our sympathy to all those who endured this heinous crime, and our solidarity with the entire French nation as it comes to terms with these events. The Socialist International underscores its firm support for and solidarity with President Hollande and his government as he firmly and decisively acts to confront this concerted scourge of terror that has hit France, and takes the necessary measures to protect its citizens...