Maurice Kamto, president of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) accuses the government of wanting to postpone the coming legislative and municipal elections. Speaking to the press in Yaoundé on July 27, he demanded that elections be held on time, i.e. at the beginning of 2025. "Nothing can justify the postponement of the legislative and municipal elections," he said.
Indeed, the last elections for the current mayors and deputies was held in February 2020. They were elected for five years, so new elections should be held in February 2025. "The public authorities in general, and those responsible for electoral matters in particular, have therefore known since at least 2020 that they have an obligation to take all necessary steps to ensure that these elections are held within the timeframe prescribed by law," Maurice Kamto says.
The political figure fears this deadline will not be met, however. The constitution allows the Head of State to postpone municipal and legislative elections. In the case of the deputies' term of office, article 15, paragraph 4, of the Constitution stipulates that "In the event of a serious crisis or when circumstances so require, the President of the Republic may, after consulting the President of the Constitutional Council and the offices of the National Assembly and the Senate, ask the National Assembly to decide, by law, to extend or shorten the term. In this case, the election of a new assembly takes place at least forty (40) days and at most one hundred and twenty (120) days” after the end of the extended or shortened period.
Paul Biya has often used this constitutional power. In 2018, he postponed the municipal and legislative elections to avoid clogging up the electoral calendar, as the presidential election was scheduled for the same year. This reason may well apply to 2025, since in addition to the municipal and legislative elections, President Paul Biya's seven-year term of office comes to an end in October this year.
The 2018 scenario could well play out in 2025. For MRC critics, it is also the scenario feared by Maurice Kamto. Currently, his party has no elected mayors or deputies because he boycotted the 2020 elections. Should the municipal and legislative elections be postponed, his party will not be able to take part in the presidential elections. Meanwhile, the MRC says it is committed to peaceful electoral change.
Michel Ange Nga