April 14, 2013, midnight
On April 14th, Cameroon’s voters will vote in the country’s first-ever upper house elections, establishing the country’s first Senate (Sénat). 70 seats are up for election, and the majority are expected to be won by the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement/ Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais (CPDM/ RDPC), the ruling party. The remaining 30 seats will be appointed by President Paul Biya. In 1996, an amendment to Cameroon’s Constitution established a 100-seat Senate, in addition to the existing 180-seat National Assembly. Also decreed in this amendment was the establishment of Regional Councils, decentralized bodies in charge of governing Cameroon’s 10 provinces or ‘regions.’ In 2008 the National Assembly modified this clause to exclusively give Municipal Councilors the power to elect the Senate—if Senate elections were held ahead of Regional Council elections. Since President Biya has yet to call for Regional Council elections, the Electoral College will be solely comprised of Municipal Councilors, many whose five-year terms would have expired in 2012, but were extended by parliament for another year. Out of 360 Municipal Councils comprising the Electoral College, 336 are presumed to be affiliated with the CPDM.