Politics of Cameroon

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Cameroon
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Politics and government of
Cameroon



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Politics of Cameroon takes place in a framework of a federal presidential republic, whereby the President of Cameroon is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly of Cameroon

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[edit] Political background

The government adopted legislation in 1990 to authorize the formation of multiple political parties and ease restrictions on forming civil associations and private newspapers. Cameroon' s first multiparty legislative and presidential elections were held in 1992 followed by municipal elections in 1996 and another round of legislative and presidential elections in 1997. Because the government refused to consider opposition demands for an independent election commission, the three major opposition parties boycotted the October 1997 presidential election, which Biya easily won. The leader of one of the opposition parties, Bello Bouba Maigari of the NUDP, subsequently joined the government.

Cameroon has a number of independent newspapers. Censorship was abolished in 1996, but the government sometimes seizes or suspends newspapers and occasionally arrests journalists. Although a 1990 law authorizes private radio and television stations, the government has not granted any licenses as of March 1998.

The Cameroonian Government's human rights record has been improving over the years but remains flawed. There continue to be reported abuses, including beatings of detainees, arbitrary arrests, and illegal searches. The judiciary is frequently corrupt, inefficient, and subject to political influence.

[edit] Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Paul Biya RDPC 6 November 1982
Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni RDPC December 8 2005

The 1972 constitution of the Republic of Cameroon as modified by 1996 reforms provides for a strong central government dominated by the executive. The president is empowered to name and dismiss cabinet members, judges, generals, provincial governors, prefects, sub-prefects, and heads of Cameroon's parastatal (about 100 state-controlled) firms, obligate or disburse expenditures, approve or veto regulations, declare states of emergency, and appropriate and spend profits of parastatal firms. The president is not required to consult the National Assembly.

The judiciary is subordinate to the executive branch's Ministry of Justice. The Supreme Court may review the constitutionality of a law only at the president's request.

All local government officials are employees of the central government's Ministry of Territorial Administration, from which local governments also get most of their budgets.

While the president, the minister of justice, and the president's judicial advisers (the Supreme Court) top the judicial hierarchy, traditional rulers, courts, and councils also exercise functions of government. Traditional courts still play a major role in domestic, property, and probate law. Tribal laws and customs are honored in the formal court system when not in conflict with national law. Traditional rulers receive stipends from the national government.

[edit] Legislative branch

The 180-member National Assembly meets in ordinary session three times a year (March/April, June/July, and November/December), and has seldom, until recently, made major changes in legislation proposed by the executive. Laws are adopted by majority vote of members present or, if the president demands a second reading, of a total membership.

Following government pledges to reform the strongly centralized 1972 constitution, the National Assembly adopted a number of amendments in December 1995 which were promulgated in January 1996. The amendments call for the establishment of a 100-member senate as part of a bicameral legislature, the creation of regional councils, and the fixing of the presidential term to 7 years, renewable once. One-third of senators are to be appointed by the President, and the remaining two-thirds are to be chosen by indirect elections. As of March 1998, the government has not established the Senate or regional councils.

[edit] Political parties and elections

The following election results include names of political parties. See for additional information about parties the List of political parties in Cameroon. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Cameroon.
[discuss] – [edit]
Summary of the 11 October 2004 Cameroon presidential election results
Candidates - Parties Votes %
Paul Biya - Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (Rassemblement démocratique du Peuple Camerounais) 2,665,359 70.92
Ni John Fru Ndi - Social Democratic Front (Front Social-Démocratique) 654,066 17.40
Adamou Ndam Njoya - National Union for Democracy and Progress (Union Nationale pour la Démocratie et le Progrès) 168,318 4.48
Garga Haman Adji - Alliance for Democracy and Development (Alliance pour la Démocratie et le Développement) 140,372 3.74
12 Others 130,106 3.46
Total (turnout 82.2%) 3,758,221 100.00
Source: Cameroon Supreme Court
[discuss] – [edit]
Summary of the 30 June and 15 September 2002 National Assembly of Cameroon election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (Rassemblement démocratique du Peuple Camerounais) . 149
Social Democratic Front (Front Social-Démocratique) . 22
Democratic Union of Cameroon (Union Démocratique du Cameroun) . 5
Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (Union des Populations du Cameroun) . 3
National Union for Democracy and Progress (Union Nationale pour la Démocratie et le Progrès) . 1
Total   180
Source: www.democraf.com and Irin

[edit] Judicial branch

The judiciary is subordinate to the executive branch's Ministry of Justice. The Supreme Court may review the constitutionality of a law only at the president's request.

[edit] International organization participation

Cameroon is member of: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, C, CEEAC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-19, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, ITUC, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, PCA, UDEAC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO


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