Congo Republic Leader Secures Fourth Term in Landslide Vote Win

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Denis Sassou Nguesso won a fourth five-year term as president of the Republic of Congo after beating six other candidates in a March 21 election.

Sassou Nguesso, 77, secured 88% of the vote, Interior Minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou said in a statement on public broadcaster Television Congolaise. Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, who died on election day after contracting Covid-19 during the campaign, got 7% of the vote, followed by former Finance Minister Mathias Dzon with 5%.

Congo Republic Leader Secures Fourth Term in Landslide Vote Win

While the election was largely peaceful, the outcome was tainted by allegations of fraud and low voter participation in some areas, according to the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference and advocacy group the Congolese Human Rights Organization. The sudden death of Kolelas, 61, while en route to France for medical treatment, will further weaken the country’s opposition.

The Constitutional Court has one week to validate the outcome of the election. Sassou Nguesso’s inauguration is scheduled for April 16.

Congo, home to sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth-biggest oil reserves, saw an 8% decline in economic growth last year largely on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a collapse in global oil prices. Growth is forecast at just below 1% this year, according to government estimates.

The government is in talks to restructure debt with creditors including Glencore Plc and Trafigura Group. The International Monetary Fund said last month that Congo’s debt remains unsustainable, although it’s expected to fall below 100% of gross domestic product this year.

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