In Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been re-elected to a sixth term as president with 94.9 percent of the votes cast, election officials announced on Saturday, putting turnout at 98 percent.
Eighty-year-old Obiang, who seized power in a 1979 coup, is the longest-ruling head of state in the world excluding monarchs. He has never officially been re-elected with less than 93 percent of the vote.
Electoral commission head Faustino Ndong Esono Eyang confirmed that Obiang would serve another seven years in the top job. The commission said the turnout rate for the election was 98 percent.
The result was widely expected in the oil-rich and authoritarian central African nation, where the political opposition is extremely weak.
Obiang had the backing of a coalition of 15 parties, including his all-powerful ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE).
The PDGE, which was the country’s only legal political movement until 1991, also swept all seats in the National Assembly and the Senate.
The percentages won by the opposition candidates, Andres Esono Ondo of the Convergence for Social Democracy and Buenaventura Monsuy Asumu of the Social Democratic Coalition Party, were not announced, with both garnering just a few thousand votes.
Obiang has ruled Equatorial Guinea for more than 43 years after ousting his uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who was then executed by a firing squad.
He has suppressed dissent and survived a string of attempted coups.
Security forces arrested opposition figures in the weeks before the elections, with the regime saying it was thwarting a “conspiracy” to commit attacks in the capital Malabo and economic hub Bata.
The authorities also closed the country’s land borders with neighbouring Gabon and Cameroon before campaigning began, saying it was foiling infiltrators from disrupting the vote.
Obiang is just the second president in Equatorial Guinea’s history since it gained independence in 1968 from Spain, its colonial power for nearly two centuries.
Rich, divided and corrupt
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.
But the wealth has remained concentrated in the hands of a few families.
In 2006, when the oil boom was at its peak, more than three quarters of the population lived in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 a day, according to the World Bank. There have been no new figures since.
Equatorial Guinea ranks 172nd of the 180 nations on Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index.