Equatoguinean leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was re-elected for a sixth presidential term with 94.9% of the votes cast, electoral officials announced on Saturday, estimating the voter turnout at 98%.
Obiang, 80, who seized power in a 1979 coup, is the world’s longest-serving head of state, excluding monarchs. He was never officially re-elected with less than 93% of the vote.
The head of the electoral commission, Faustino Ndong Esono Eyang, confirmed that Obiang would serve another seven years in the post. The commission said voter turnout was 98%.
The overwhelming result was widely expected in the oil-rich and authoritarian Central African nation, where the political opposition is extremely weak.
Obiang had the support of a coalition of 15 parties, including his all-powerful ruling party, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE).
The PDGE, which was the only legal political movement in the country until 1991, also won all the 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, have not been announced, both having collected only a few thousands of votes.
“The final results of the vote are once again in our favour,” Obiang’s son, Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, wrote on Twitter.
“We will continue to prove that we are a great political party.”
Obiang ruled Equatorial Guinea for more than 43 years after ousting his uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who was later executed by firing squad.
He suppressed dissent and saw a series of coup attempts in the Spanish-speaking nation.
Security forces arrested opposition figures in the weeks before the result, with the regime claiming it was foiling a “plot” to carry out attacks in the capital Malabo and the economic hub of Bata.
Authorities also closed the country’s land borders with neighboring Gabon and Cameroon before the start of the campaign, saying it prevented infiltrators from disrupting the vote.
Obiang is only the second president in the history of Equatorial Guinea since its independence in 1968 from Spain, its colonial power for nearly two centuries.
“The history of Equatorial Guinea has been repeating itself for 43 years and the political vision established by the government will continue after this election,” Justo Bolekia, a professor at the Spanish University of Salamanca, told AFP.
“It was predictable, including for the opposition. We even expected a score closer to 98%,” he added.
The discovery of offshore oil in the mid-1990s made Equatorial Guinea the third richest country in sub-Saharan Africa by per capita income in 2021.
But the wealth remained concentrated in the hands of a few families.
In 2006, when the oil boom was in full swing, 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.
The country also has a reputation for corruption, ranking 172nd out of 180 nations on Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index.