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Cameroonian President Paul Biya Celebrates 41 Years in Office
Debate intensifies over succession in Cameroon, as questions arise about the re-election of Africa's second-longest serving leader for another 7-year term following the 2025 presidential election.
Cameroonian President Paul Biya is commemorating his 41-year rule over the central African nation on Monday, November 6. Last year, thousands gathered in the capital, Yaoundé, for the occasion, although the president did not attend. Paul Biya, a former Prime Minister, assumed leadership of Cameroon on November 6, 1982, following the resignation of the country's first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo.
Within the ruling Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People (RDPC), many voices have already called for him to run in the 2025 presidential election for an eighth, 7-year term. However, critics of his regime wore black on Sunday, citing concerns such as corruption, bad governance, and an ongoing succession battle.
Cameroon's president, who celebrated his 90th birthday last February, is Africa's second-longest serving leader. During his tenure, Cameroon has faced various challenges, including a secessionist movement in the country's English-speaking regions and the threat in the north posed by Islamic extremists aligned with the Nigeria-based Boko Haram group. Paul Biya last won the presidential election in 2018.
Constitutionally, in the event of a vacancy at the helm of the State due to death, resignation, or permanent incapacity declared by the Constitutional Council, the President of the Senate, Marcel Niat Njifenji, would take over as Interim Head of State. He would then be required to organize an election for the new Head of State within a period of one hundred and twenty days.
The intense debate about President Biya's succession is driven by his age and the long duration of his rule. At 91 next February and with a record 41 years in office, well beyond term limits in most countries, many believe it is time for President Biya to step down. Questions and debates surrounding his succession have been spurred by genuine concerns.
When visiting French President, Emmanuel Macron, held a joint press conference with President Biya at the Unity Palace last year, the succession question was posed to him. President Biya mentioned that his mandate runs until 2025, and he would decide his future at that time.
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