Cameroon holds first regional election amid opposition boycott

Cameroon is holding its first-ever regional election, which the government says hands more power to the provinces but the opposition boycotts as a sham.

In Sunday’s indirect polls, a 24,000-strong electoral college made up of regional delegates and traditional chiefs will vote to fill the posts of 900 regional councillors – 90 for each of the country’s 10 regions – putting into action a 1996 law that promised a decentralised government but was never enacted.

The municipal councils will have a say over development, including infrastructure such as roads, but they will not be able to alter laws enacted by the national assembly and the senate in the country’s capital, Yaounde.

President Paul Biya’s government sees the polls as a step towards greater regional autonomy, hoping they will appease critics who say he has long neglected the country’s regions and help end a four-year separatist conflict in the English-speaking western region.

Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque reports.

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politics, africa, election, cameroon, opposition, boycott
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