Republic of Congo President Wins Re-electionMarch 24, 2016 in Republic of Congo
On Thursday, the interior minister for the Republic of Congo announced that President Denis Sassou Nguesso has won a new five-year term in office, gaining 60.39 percent of the vote and effectively extending his long rule over the oil-producing country that first began in 1979.
Interior Minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou announced the result on state television, stating that opposition leader Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who is popular in the south of the capital Brazzaville, won 15 percent in Sunday’s election, while retired general Jean-Marie Mokoko won 14 percent. Opposition candidates have alleged election fraud, and on Wednesday, they disclosed that their won results shows that President Sassou Nguesso was headed for defeat. The government has imposed a blackout on Internet and mobile phone communications since Sunday and it also banned the use of motor vehicles nationwide during the vote itself.
President Sassou Nguesso came to power in 1979 and governed until 1992, when he lost an election. He regained power in 1997 after a civil war and went on to win elections in 2002 and 2009, during which there were allegations of fraud. This time around he campaigned on a promise to develop the country’s infrastructure and commit a quarter of the state budget to education and to tackle high youth unemployment in the nation, which has a population of 4.5 million. The 72-year-old president pushed through changes to the country’s constitution in a referendum that was held in October and which aimed to alter the term and age limits that would have effectively barred him from standing for another five-year term.