WASHINGTON: The United States has said that voting irregularities in Cameroon cast doubt on the credibility of strongman Paul Biya's latest victory as it urged a peaceful way forward.
A council dominated by Biya loyalists said that the 85-year-old leader won 71.3 per cent of the vote, after authorities banned an opposition march called to denounce allegedly widespread fraud.
"While we welcome the Cameroonian Election Commission's demonstrable improvement over the 2011 elections, there were a number of irregularities prior to, during and after the October 7 election," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Monday in a statement.
"These irregularities may not have affected the outcome but created an impression that the election was not credible or genuinely free and fair," she said.
Amid tight security in the capital Yaounde and gunfire in the restive English-speaking region, the United States called for dialogue moving forward.
"We urge all parties -- including the government -- to respect the rule of law, resolve peacefully any disputes through established legal channels and avoid hate speech," Nauert said.
The United Nations similarly called for Cameroon to rely on "legal channels" to resolve disputes over the re-election of Biya, who has ruled the country since 1982.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "reiterates his encouragement to all stakeholders to prioritize dialogue as the surest path to social cohesion and national unity," a UN statement said.