As Cameroonians brace for the results of the October 7 polls, questions and criticisms are flooding the air over who is legally permitted to announce elections results, with government, ELECAM, and CPDM officials insisting the Constitutional Council is the only organ legally permitted to announce election results, as such who ever, besides the Council, does same is breaking the law.
Elections in Cameroon are governed by Law n° 2012/001 of 19 April 2012 relating to the Electoral Code, amended and supplemented by law n° 2012/017 of 21 December 2012. Two clauses in the Electoral Code touch on when and by whom can election results be published or proclaim. Section 137, Chapter 5 states that “The Constitutional Council shall adopt and proclaim the results of the presidential election within no more than15 (fifteen) days of the close of the poll”.
This is the law that ELECAM, government and CPDM officials refer to when talking about who is legally permitted to publish election results.
However, Section 113, in Chapter 3, of the same law states that “Once counting is over, the results obtained in each polling station shall be proclaimed”. In French, Section 133 reads “Immédiatement après le dépouillement, le résultat acquis dans chaque bureau de vote est rendu public”.
So regarding the matter of whether any other organ beside the Constitutional Council can “proclaim” the election results, the answer is yes, according to Section 113, all polling stations are required to “rendu public” or proclaim the polling station results after counting. In this light, we can ask, what is the meaning of proclaim? Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines proclaim as “to publicly and officially tell people about something important; to show something clearly.”
Thus the problem with publishing the results is not whether the Constitutional Council is the only entity legally entrusted to proclaim election results in Cameroon. The point is that ONLY the Constitutional Council can proclaim the final winner of the elections, but individual voting stations MUST proclaim the results of their polling stations after counting. The question that would be ask in the law courts, is what what constitutes public—media, whole country, polling station committee? Whatever is the case, the law allows polling stations and the Constitutional Council to proclaim election results, but different parts of this results.
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