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Congo’s Sassou Nguesso re-elected

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The Republic of Congo’s veteran president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, has been re-elected with 88.57% of the vote, according to provisional results released yesterday.
Sassou Nguesso, 77, has been in power for an accumulated 36 years, first taking the helm of the central African state in 1979. His landslide first-round victory, announced by the interior minister citing figures from the electoral commission, had been widely expected.
Sunday’s ballot had been boycotted by the main opposition and overshadowed by the death from Covid of Sassou Nguesso’s only major rival, Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, 61, who reaped 7.84 percent of the vote.
Turnout was put at 67.55%.
One of the world’s longest-serving rulers, Sassou Nguesso has long been accused by critics of authoritarian rule and turning a blind eye to corruption, poverty and inequality despite the country’s oil wealth.
Kolelas, the son of a former prime minister who was a leading government critic, died aboard a medical plane that flew him to Paris on polling day, his campaign director Christian Cyr Rodrigue Mayanda said.
Kolelas initially thought he had malaria, but belatedly discovered that it was Covid-19, a friend of his said.
He posted a video from his sickbed, declaring he was “battling against death” and urging followers to “rise up as one person.” Mathias Dzon, a former finance minister who picked up 1.9% of the vote, announced on Monday that he would file suit to the Constitutional Court to overturn the vote, which he described as “disastrous.”
On polling day, access to the Internet and social media, as well as text messages, was cut while in the centre of the capital Brazzaville, shops were closed and only security vehicles were seen.





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