CONGO. Brazzaville: Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso appears on course to win a fourth term.
This is according to the early results on March 22 as vote counting continues and despite the death of his main rival.
The March 21st Presidential election was overshadowed by the sudden death of Nguesso’s main rival, Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who passed away from the coronavirus on polling day.
Provisional official results from 35 polling stations indicate that 77 years Sassou Nguesso was on track for a landslide first-round victory.
Final results are expected later this week.
The final results tallies from about 40 per cent of the 86 districts showed that Sassou Nguesso is leading and in some areas won 100 per cent of the vote, according to Reuters.
In the Poto-Poto district of the capital Brazzaville, he had picked up 89.15 per cent of the vote, according to figures issued by the country’s electoral commission.
“Across the country, the results are mostly in line with this trend,” Henri Bouka Head of the Commission said.
One of the world’s longest-serving rulers, Sassou Nguesso was the frontrunner in an election boycotted by the main opposition and under an internet blackout.
In his 36 years of power, he has been accused by critics of iron-fisted rule and turning a blind eye to corruption, poverty and inequality despite abundant oil wealth.
61 years Kolelas who was Nguesso’s only significant challenger, died on election day aboard a medical plane that took him to Paris.
More about Sassou Nguesso
Denis Sassou Nguesso, a former paratrooper, first rose to power in the Republic of Congo in 1979.
He was forced to introduce multi-party elections in 1991 and was defeated at the ballot box a year later.
But he returned to power in 1997 following a prolonged civil war and has won every election since then, in conditions that the opposition says were fraudulent.
A constitutional amendment in 2015, which ended a ban on presidential candidates aged over 70 and scrapped a two-term limit, allowed him to run again in 2016.
Two candidates in that vote — former army General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and ex-minister Andre Okombi Salissa — were sentenced in 2018 to 20 years in prison for “undermining state security”.
Full results are likely to be announced on March 23 or 24, according to the electoral commission.