The president of Equatorial Guinea has been in power for 43 years and is running for re-election into office.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who is 80 years old, has led a government accused of torturing people and making them disappear.
Some candidates from the opposition are running, but they are not likely to win.
The president has a firm hold on the oil-rich country because his family works in key government positions.
His son, Teodoro “Teodorin” Nguema Obiang Mangue, is the country’s Vice-President. He has lived a luxurious life in the US and Europe. UK authorities say he owns a pricey glove covered in crystals that Michael Jackson once had.
The lack of a free press, which means that the government or its allies own all broadcast media, makes it hard for people to disagree with the government.
People think President Obiang, who has denied rights abuses and rigged elections in the past, is trying to improve his reputation worldwide. In September, the government did something that the UN praised: it got rid of the death penalty.
Poverty as a tool in politics
President Obiang has been in power in the oil-rich West African country since 1979 when a military coup put him in charge. Francisco Macias Nguema, his uncle, was the president before him. When he took over, he made some changes, but Nguema still had total control over the country.
Eventually, Nguema was put to death. During his time in power, thousands of people died, and many left Equatorial Guinea.
Professor Sá said President Obiang has stayed in power because he knows “the rules of the political game.” He also uses the country’s poverty as a “political weapon,” Sá said.
She also said, “Electoral laws will ensure Obiang will never lose power.”
Critics say that the country has a history of elections that were not fair. Officials said President Obiang got more than 97% of the votes in December 2002 presidential elections. Opposition candidates dropped out of the election, saying there had been fraud and other problems.
The results of the elections in 2009 and 2016 were also the same.
The regime has also been accused of corruption after France fined his son Teodorin Obiang for using public money to pay for a lavish lifestyle in that country. Since then, French authorities have taken away Mr. Obiang’s assets in France.
The UK put the vice president, who is in the best position to take over for his father, on a blocklist in 2021 as part of an effort to fight corruption.
Vice President Obiang has said that he did nothing wrong. President Obiang has also denied accusations of corruption in the past.
More than 300,000 people have signed up to vote in Sunday’s election.
Equatorial Guinea: What you need to know
In 1968, Spanish Guinea became the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, and Francisco Macias Nguema was elected president.
Rights groups say that the country’s two presidents, Francisco Macias Nguema and Teodoro Obiang Nguema, are the worst people in Africa regarding breaking people’s rights.
In 1996, the Spanish, French, and Portuguese-speaking countries found a lot of oil. However, most of the country’s 1.4 million people have not benefited from this, and poverty is still widespread.