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The President calls on all political groups to participate in nationwide dialogue

Article - January 4, 2015

The roundtable is expected to revitalise political dialogue and to represent a broad, inclusive process which opens the door to participation in the democratic governance of the country by Equatorial Guinea's political and social actors. 

As a political principle, Equatorial Guinea's government is aware that democracy is incompatible with exclusion, intolerance and disqualification. This principle has guided politics ever since the multi-party system was introduced in Equatorial Guinea in 1991. The political transition concluded successfully in the country as a result of adhering to that principle. Elected bodies underwent sweeping reforms, as envisaged in the Fundamental Law, without giving rise to any grievances from the nation's main leaders and legitimate political actors. The revision and promulgation of the new Fundamental Law led to the creation of new state bodies, such as the two-chamber parliament, the Republic's Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Court of Auditors and the Ombudsman.

This constitutional reform broadens the scope for public participation, limits presidential mandates and establishes the necessary controls for greater transparency in the public administration. Moreover, all of these reforms are supported by the recent offer to all legalised political parties in the country to participate in the national dialogue.

The Equatorial Guinean government has always expressed and demonstrated its firm openness towards dialogue, negotiation, and working with all of the country's legalised political parties. Today it is redoubling its commitment to dialogue and political agreements as the only avenues for preserving the country's peace and development.  For this reason, the government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea organised this National Dialogue Roundtable, and all Equatorial Guinean political forces living outside the country are invited to return and participate (Equatorial Guinea paid for the flights of politicians exiled in Spain to attend and participate in the debate). This initiative seeks to legalise political parties and to reintegrate parties that are already legal in accordance with the legislation in force to obtain the necessary legitimacy to participate in the country's politics.

As evidence of its staunch commitment to dialogue, the government has signed a general amnesty order offering a guarantee to all members of the diaspora. This implies a general pardon and the beginning of a new chapter.

The initiative to create a National Dialogue Roundtable has inspired enthusiasm and hope in most of the country's political circles. Jerónimo Osa Osa Ecoro, Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea, expressed great satisfaction with the announcement and the president's invitation. "It will be sincere dialogue in which we won't be arguing but, rather, mutually creating proximity so as to work together to develop our country". The initiative's repercussions are also visible beyond Equatorial Guinea. The roundtable has also had a notable impact and garnered support internationally. For example, South African President, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, sent a letter to President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo congratulating him on the initiative, which he describes as "a good opportunity to propose constructive options which ensure the development of Africa". As a result, the political dialogue started by Equatorial Guinea will be considered a constructive project for all of Africa.

This programme, which pursues national interests, was organised from 10 to 15 November 2014. According to the government and participating groups, the hard work paid off as the roundtable gave rise to an agreement that includes many reforms of some of the main laws regulating democratic processes in Equatorial Guinea. That includes the National Binding Pact between parties, signed in 1993, and various subsequent revisions, and the Law of Elections to Parliament (members of parliament and senators). Other agreements adopted during the event include the flexibilisation of certain measures to create political parties and participate in elections, as well as regulations to improve monitoring of the Binding Pact between parties, which reflects the development of multi-party democracy over many years in Equatorial Guinea. The event concluded with congratulatory messages and mutual gratitude between the parties and the government. Many have said that this meeting was a historic event at which enormous progress was made in strengthening democracy in Equatorial Guinea. The President of the Republic was also thanked for organising the event. He congratulated all participants for "the high quality of the discussions and the political maturity of the debates”.