June 28 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. wants Cameroon’s government to organize free, fair, open and transparent presidential, parliamentary and local elections, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said in Yaounde today.
Open public discussions are a necessary prerequisite to free elections and any intimidation of candidates in the lead up to the elections will be viewed as having a negative impact on the credibility of the electoral process, he told journalists after a series of working sessions with Cameroonian officials.
“The government of Cameroon should make sure governmental authorities allow citizens to participate in open public discussions about all issues of interest to the voters,” Carson said.
Cameroonians are expected to go to the polls in October this year to elect a President for the next seven-year term. Incumbent Paul Biya, who has ruled the West African nation since 1982, is eligible for the election after a change of constitution in 2008 instituting a limitless term of office.
“I did talk to the Prime Minister about the selection of the six additional board members of ELECAM, hoping that they will be individuals who are independent, have integrity and command respect,” Carson said.
ELECAM is Cameroon’s Electoral commission whose membership has been raised to 18 from 12 after the opposition criticized the composition of the commission.
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