Denis Sassou Nguesso has been re-elected for a fourth term in office further cementing his grip in the Republic of Congo.
With more than 88 per cent of the vote, Sassou Nguesso won Sunday’s election with a landslide. According to provisional results released on Tuesday evening, the veteran ruler garnered 88.57 percent of the vote.
The 77 year old has been in power since 1979, except for a five-year period after losing elections in 1992. The head of state has governed the oil rich nation for a total of 36 years. A constitution change following a 2015 referendum removed a 70 year age limit and a ban on presidents serving more than two terms.
The country’s Interior Minister Raymond Zéphirin Mboulou stated on national media that the incumbent garnered 1,562,948 of votes cast on the 17th and 21st March.
According to analysts, Sassou Nguesso’s victory was expected. The outgoing president, who received more than half of the votes cast, was thus elected in the first round. His closest rival, Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, died hours after polls were closed from Covid-19. He came in second with 7.84 per cent of the votes and Mathias Dzon third with 1.90 per cent of the votes.
The turnout was 67.55 per cent against just under 70 per cent in 2016 when Denis Sassou Nguesso had also been re-elected with more than 60 per cent of the votes.
Meanwhile, second runner up Dzon stated he intends to appeal to the Constitutional Court to cancel the official results, citing Article 53 of the electoral law which reads “If, before the first round, one of the candidates dies or is unable to participate in the vote, the constitutional judge announces the postponement of the election.”
Contesting further the provisional results, Dzon said there is a form of manipulation with the vote as results were released promptly in comparison to the last presidential elections in 2016 which took more than a week.
In accordance with Article 72 of the Constitution, the opposition has five days to submit its appeal to the Constitutional Court following the proclamation of the provisional results of the election of the President of the Republic. In the event of a dispute, the Court shall rule within 15 days from the date of referral and shall proclaim the final results.”