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Cameroon's incumbent president seems poised for reelection, but not without tension

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Cameroon will hold presidential elections on Oct. 9. Over 20 challengers are facing off against President Paul Biya, who has held his post since 1982. Biya won elections in 1984, 1992, 1997, and 2004, and is running again after removing a two-term limit imposed by the 1996 constitution. Almost all observers expect Biya to win re-election this time as well. Official campaigning, which Voice of America describes as “sluggish,” only began recently, but on a rhetorical and now physical level, the process has been punctuated by violence.

In terms of rhetoric, the major opposition candidate has used highly inflammatory language to describe other contenders:

The chairman of Cameroon’s main opposition party, John Fru Ndi, said Monday that the other opposition parties competing in October’s presidential race are “maggots.”

Fru Ndi told supporters at a rally in the opposition stronghold of Bamenda that nearly all the parties running alongside his Social Democratic Front were set up by President Paul Biya as a ploy to fracture the main party.

Fru Ndi has also made vague threats of protests and boycotts:

“I would not opt for youths to take to the streets in protest like that of the Arab Spring, but if Mr. Biya’s regime this time violates a free, fair and transparent election as he has always done, I would change my mind,” he told supporters.

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