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Vol 54 No 2

Published 18th January 2013


Après Biya fears

After 30 years in in charge, the President seems as secure as ever. Yet worries are growing that his legacy will be a political vacuum

In November, President Paul Biya was conspicuous by his absence from any of his supporters’ nationwide celebrations of his 30 years in power. In this way, he kept intact his reputation for inscrutability. And he isn’t, we hear, likely to be at home when he celebrates his 80th birthday on 13 February. Yet the low profile and advanced age do not signify retirement. Biya has been telling French politicians that if he is still alive in 2018, when his current term ends, he intends to stand again. By then he would be 85. Meanwhile, his iron grip on government and his refusal to allow any successor to emerge is increasing the potential for social and political crisis, according to local analysts.

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