Equatorial Guinea polls 'just a formality'


File: This picture taken on January 21, 2012 shows the President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema in Bata.

MALABO - The party of Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has overwhelmingly won last week&39;s local and parliamentary elections, the presidency said on Sunday, in a widely expected victory for Africa&39;s longest-serving leader.

Obiang&39;s PDGE party claimed "an absolute majority in all districts", the presidential office said in a statement, without giving detailed figures for the May 26 polls.

The polls have been denounced as a sham by the opposition in the small central west African nation, the continent&39;s third-largest oil producer, which has been under Obiang&39;s iron-fisted rule for 34 years.

The statement added that the opposition Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS) party took just one seat in the lower house of parliament, one in the Senate and five local council seats.

In the political capital of Malabo, the PDGE won nine out of the 10 seats in the National Assembly, five of the six Senate seats and 12 out of 13 council seats, it added.

CPDS spokesman Andres Esono Ondo charged that the "results are fabricated by the PDGE which is characterised by fraud".

"The results were known already in advance. As long as Obiang is the president of the republic and president of the party, this country won&39;t have democracy," he said.

Before the vote, the PDGE had grouped almost all of the country&39;s political parties under one coalition umbrella, leaving only two parties in the opposition.

The polls marked the first time voters were electing senators.

The parliamentary and local elections took place following constitutional reforms which included the creation of a Senate and the post of vice president. Changes also included limiting presidential terms to two.

It is not clear whether the law is retrospective, and if Obiang will have to step down at the end of his term in 2016.

The 71-year-old Obiang came to power in the former Spanish colony after toppling his brutally despotic uncle in 1979 and having him shot.

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