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Equatorial Guinea: Nguema to extend 43-year rule as voters go to the polls

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Equatorial Guinea‘s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema is seeking to extend his time in office as voters go to the polls on Sunday.

Obiang Nguema is the world’s longest-serving president staying in power for 43 years.

Over 400,000 people out of the 1.5 million population registered to vote in this year’s general election.

Voters will also be electing 100 members of parliament for the lower house, 55 of the country’s 70 senators, and local mayors.

Obiang’s Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea holds 99 of the 100 seats in the outgoing lower house of parliament and all 70 of the senate seats.

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The 80-year-old Obiang is vying for a sixth term against two opposition candidates – Buenaventura Monsuy Asumu, who is running for the sixth time against Obiang, and Andrés Esono Ondo, who is running for the first time.

Before Sunday’s vote Obiang said the presidential election was forward by several months to save money due to the economic crisis.

The United States and the European Union called for a free and fair election in separate statements, and raised concerns over reports of harassments and intimidation of the opposition and civil society groups.

The government rejected the reports, calling them interference in its electoral process

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Equatorial Guinea has had only two presidents since independence from Spain in 1968. Obiang ousted his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema in a coup in 1979.

Nguema Mbasogo has since then overseen Equatorial Guinea’s emergence as an important oil producer, beginning in the 1990s.

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