Equatorial Guinea opposition cries foul after leader's party sweeps vote

Reuters News

6/4/2013 1:20:13 PM - Reuters News

DAKAR (Reuters) - Equatorial Guinea's main opposition movement cried foul on Tuesday after the president's party announced it had won all but two seats in last month's parliamentary election in the tiny oil-rich West African state.

President Teodoro Nguema Obiang's ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) won 99 of the 100 seats in the lower house of assembly and 54 of 55 senate seats in the May 26 vote, the government said on its website on Saturday.

The Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS) party will be the only opposition group represented in parliament, with one seat in the lower house and one in the senate.

"These results have nothing to do with the votes people actually cast," Placido Mico, secretary-general of the CPDS, told Reuters. "We completely reject these results ... This is a real fraud, in total violation of the law."

A government spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Obiang has ruled the former Spanish colony since 1979, when he ousted his uncle in a military coup, making him Africa's longest-serving leader.

An African Union election observers mission said the May 26 vote was carried out peacefully, but noted the lack of national observers and representatives of opposition parties in many voting stations.

On Monday, the United States voiced serious concerns over the election process, pointing to arbitrary detentions, limits on freedoms of assembly and speech, and severely restricted media access for the opposition.

At least four members of the opposition were detained for trying to organize a protest march ahead of the election.

"We urge the government to maintain an open dialogue with opposition parties, and to address the legitimate concerns that they have about this and other electoral issues," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Three rights groups - Amnesty International, EG Justice and Human Rights Watch - said before the election the government was not respecting its own laws and the elections were unlikely to be free and fair.

(Reporting by Daniel Flynn and Bate Felix; Editing by Andrew Heavens)