Parliamentary Chamber: Assemblée nationale - National Assembly


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  Assemblée nationale - National Assembly

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  17 May 1997

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  Following the previous general elections, President of the Republic Paul Biya was re-elected for a five-year term in October 1992. In January 1997, it was announced that the parliamentary poll would be postponed for several weeks due to "organisational problems".

Some 45 parties and 3,000 candidates were in the running for the 180 seats at stake. The ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) was once again primarily challenged by the National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP) led by Mr. Bello Bouba Maïgiri and the Social Democratic Front (SDF) headed by Mr. John Fru Ndi; the latter party had boycotted the 1992 poll. While these two opposition parties did not present common candidates, they concluded a pact to avoid head-to-head confrontations, especially in their respective strongholds.

During the two-week campaign, the CPDM pointed to its wide-ranging accomplishments as governing party while the UNDP stressed its experience as a parliamentary group and the SDF, invoking the slogan "power to the people", called for constitutional and institutional reform, especially a return to a federalist system and reductions in the number of government members and the civil service. The SDF moreover advocated a reform in public spending as well as the banking and tax sectors.

On polling day, CPDM swept to an absolute majority, increasing its representation by nearly 30 seats, primarily at the expense of second-ranked UNDP. This outcome was vigorously contested by the opposition forces, who claimed irregularities and fraudulent practices which were backed up by international observers' reports; ultimately, results in three constituencies (seven seats) were cancelled by the Supreme Court for these very reasons.

Prime Minister Peter Mafany Musonge continues in office at the head of the unchanged Cabinet.

Round no 1 (17 May 1997): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 4,000,000 (approx.)

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Cameroon's People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) 116
Social Democratic Front (SDF) 43
National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP) 13
Cameroon Democratic Union (UDC) 5
Others 3

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 170
Women: 10
Percent of women: 5.56

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Copyright © 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Union