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E.Guinea ruling party maintains grip on power

The ruling party in Equatorial Guinea has maintained a firm grip on power after sweeping to another landslide victory in elections widely criticised by the opposition as fraudulent, according to official results.

The Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) and it’s allies won all 75 senate seats, mayoral posts and 99 of the 100 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, the results released late Friday showed.

The PDGE has dominated the parliament of the tiny oil-rich country since single-party rule was scrapped in 1991.

It is the party of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Africa’s longest-serving leader, who has ruled the former Spanish colony for 37 years and been repeatedly accused of abuses by human rights groups.

Just one opposition MP, a member of the Citizens for Innovation party (CI), was also elected to the lower house, in the capital Malabo, according to the electoral commission. One CI councillor was also elected.

Officials from opposition parties have denounced the result, citing multiple cases of fraud and irregularities on the day of the vote, last Sunday.

Then security forces were deployed and private vehicles banned from the roads. Residents complained that this left them unable to reach polling stations — often located very far from their homes — which were mostly closed by 1700 GMT, one hour before the official end of polling.

Internet access was also completely cut on the day of the vote and Facebook has been inaccessible since the end of October.

Opposition groups say their websites have also been blocked since 2013 and that they had no access to state media, which regularly broadcast campaign ads by the ruling party.

Around 273,502 people took part in the election, 84 percent of the total voters, said the president of the electoral commission.

“There were no incidents during the vote, the electoral process took place in transparency,” said Interior Minister Clemente Engonga Nguema Onguene.

“No protest of the result or claim has been recorded,” he said.

Equatorial Guinea, which borders Cameroon and Gabon, is one of sub-Sahara’s biggest oil producers but a large proportion of the 1.2 million population still lives in poverty.

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