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Equatorial Guinea Ruling Party Wins

March 17, 1999

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Election officials say Equatorial Guinea’s ruling party has won parliamentary elections by a huge margin _ a victory that opposition leaders are blaming on widespread fraud.

President Teodoro Obiang’s Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea won 75 seats in the 80-seat single chamber legislature, an embassy spokesman in Madrid said Wednesday.

The official results of the March 7 elections were announced in the capital of Malabo by the National Electoral Tribunal on Monday, spokesman Pancracio Bee said.

Twelve opposition parties also took part in Equatorial Guinea’s second multiparty parliamentary election since winning independence from Spain in 1968.

Only two, the Popular Union party and the Social Convergence party, won any seats.

``These were not elections but rather an institutional coup d’etat by Obiang and his government,″ Popular Unity leader Andres Moises Mba Ada was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s edition of Spanish daily El Pais.

Obiang has ruled since 1979 when he overthrew his uncle, dictator Francisco Macia Nguema. He has been widely accused of human rights abuses, and many opposition figures live in self-imposed exile in Madrid.

Opposition politicians charged that their monitors had been expelled from some voting stations and that a strong military presence intimidated voters. They now plan a court challenge, El Pais reported.

Equatorial Guinea’s outgoing parliament, in which Obiang’s party had 68 seats, was elected in 1993. Obiang won a presidential election held in 1996.

The small West African country is wedged between Gabon and Cameroon and has a population of less than half a million.

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