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Equatorial Guinea's president wins sixth term

November 27, 2022

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was re-elected president of Equatorial Guinea for his sixth term with 95% of the vote.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, ruler of Equatorial Guinea
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is the world's longest-reigning head of state, excluding monarchsImage: Ludovic Marin/AP Images/picture alliance

Equatorial Guinea's ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been re-elected to a sixth term as president of the West African country.

He received 94.9% of the votes cast, election officials announced on Saturday, putting turnout for the vote at 98%.

The two opposing candidates, Andrès Esono Ondo and Buenaventura Monsuy Asumu, each received around 9,700 and 2,900 of the approximately 413,000 votes in Equatorial Guinea.

Obiang's ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) also won all seats in the National Assembly and the Senate.

Eternal president

The West African country of around 1.5 million people has had only two presidents since independence from Spain in 1968. Obiang ousted his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema in a coup in 1979.

Ruling for more than 43 years, Obiang is the world's longest-reigning head of state, excluding monarchs. The 80-year-old has never been officially re-elected with less than 93% of the vote.     

In a country where there is only one legitimate opposition party, Obiang exercises near-total political control. Rights groups accuse him of silencing dissent and cracking down on rivals.

Protests are mostly forbidden, media is heavily controlled, and political opponents are often arrested and tortured, critics say.

How African countries tackle corruption

Oil wealth and corruption

The discovery of offshore oil in the mid-1990s turned Equatorial Guinea into sub-Saharan Africa's third-richest country, in terms of per-capita income in 2021.

However, the wealth has remained concentrated in the hands of a few families. The country also has a reputation for graft, ranking 172 out of 180 nations on Transparency International's 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The president's son, Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who observers see as a potential successor, was convicted of embezzlement by a French court in 2020. The Obiangs have denied wrongdoing.

dh/sri (AFP, Reuters, dpa)