Congo president reelected, extends 32 years in power

Denis Sassou Nguesso

President Sassou Nguesso another term in office

President Sassou Nguesso another term in office
President Sassou Nguesso another term in office

Congo president Denis Sassou Nguesso extended his 32 years in power winning elections in the first round with 60 percent of the vote, the interior minister said on Thursday.

Interior minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou announced the results on national television at 3:30 am (0230 GMT) following a tense weekend poll held under a communications blackout.

The official count gave Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas 15 percent of the vote and General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko came in third with 14 percent.

On Wednesday, the two opposition candidates rejected partial results released by the national electoral commission, which gave the country’s long-time ruler 67 percent of votes.

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Oil- and timber-rich Congo has been on edge since an October constitutional referendum that ended a two-term limit on presidential mandates, allowing the 72-year-old former paratrooper colonel to run for office again.

The long-serving leader is accused by critics of rampant corruption and nepotism and of stifling democracy.

Authorities imposed a communications blackout during the vote to prevent opposition candidates from publishing their own results. A government source said they would remain suspended until after the official results were announced.