Petr BaryshnikovAll materialsWrite to the authorEquatorial Guinea, a small hydrocarbon-rich country on the west coast of Central Africa, won its independence from Spain in 1968 and has had only two presidents since then.Presidential and legislative along with local elections started in Equatorial Guinea on Sunday.
"These elections, […] are taking place in a formal atmosphere […] of international observers, civil society is coming as you yourself have seen in town," said local journalist Luciano Ndong Alberto two days before the event.
The presidential candidate of the governing Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) is Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who is running for a sixth term as president. Ruling for more than 43 years, he is world’s longest-serving head of state (except for monarchs).At the end of his campaign, the country’s leader said that his decision to hold the presidential election several months later than initially planned, organizing a general election, is motivated by the economic crisis and the need to save money.Apart from the 80-year-old incumbent president, there are two other candidates. One is Buenaventura Monsuy of the Social Democratic Coalition Party (PCSD), which has allied with the PDGE in previous elections. Monsuy was a presidential candidate in the 2002, 2009, and 2016 elections, gaining little success. He is called a “stooge” of President Obiang by the opposition.Another candidate is Essono Ondo Andress, leader of the opposition Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS). He is running for the first time.Previously, the country’s government has accused Spain, France, and the United States of “interfering” in the elections by sending diplomats to a campaign meeting held by the CPDS.The state has a “first-past-the-post” electoral system, meaning that the candidate who gets the most votes becomes the winner even if his result is less than 50%. President Obiang has enjoyed outcomes of over 93% of the vote since 1989 (before that, no presidential elections had been held in Equatorial Guinea since 1968). Analysts call the 2022 “completely devoid of suspense,” implying that Obiang will repeat his success this year.Equatorial Guinea is an OPEC member, with oil and gas production accounting for around 75% of the revenues in the country. In recent years, the maturing of the oil fields has led to a decline in the output to roughly 93,000 barrels per day, down from around 160,000 bpd in 2015. However, rising oil prices could bring new opportunities for the country’s economy.Over 427,000 people of the 1.5 million Equatoguinean population have registered to vote. Deputies, senators, and mayors will also be elected along the president. In terms of the parliamentary elections, the 100 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 55 of the 70 members of the Senate (with the rest being appointed) will be elected within a proportional representation system.