Nguesso runs for new term after 32 years in presidency

Republic of Congo's President Denis Nguesso runs for another term in presidential election to be held on Sunday after 32 years in office

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Electoral posters of incumbent Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso are seen at a busy intersection in Brazzaville on March 16, 2016 ahead of polls on March 20.

Republic of Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso seeks to be re-elected in an election on Sunday after having been in power in the central African country for 32 years.

After changes were made to the country's constitution last year, Nguesso became able to run for a new term as president.

In 25 Oct 2015, Republic of Congo held a referendum in order to allow Nguesso - who had been forbidden from running due to age and term limits in the constitution - to run in the election.

The constitutional referendum passed with 94.3 percent of the vote despite a low turnout due to an opposition boycott, with the opposition calling the referendum "a constitutional coup."

The referendum got rid of rules of limiting the maximum age of presidential candidates to 70 and two terms as president. Nguesso is 72 years old and has already ruled for two seven-year terms.

Republic of Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso arrives for a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, July 7, 2015.

Denis Sassou Nguesso

Denis Sassou Nguesso is the 72 year-old president of the Republic of Congo who has ruled the country for 32 of the last 36 years.

The former Marxist fighter was president from 1979 to 1992 under a one party system, before moving to the opposition in 1992 following multi-party elections. He returned to power with the support of Angolan troops after five years at the end of a bloody civil war in 1997.

He was elected president in 2002 and again in 2009 with 79 percent of the vote, though opposition parties boycotted the election.

Congo’s economy under Nguesso's rule

Although the Republic of Congo's economy grew substantially over the five years prior to 2014 with the aid of oil sales, the country’s economy has vital problems.

"[The Republic of Congo] continues to suffer from high rates of poverty and inequality, large infrastructure gaps, and important development challenges," a report by the International Monetary Fund released in July 2015 said.

The Republic of Congo's unemployment rate was 34 percent in 2013, rising to 60 percent among the population of the country aged between 15-24.

"We're really disappointed about what's happening in Congo," said 20-year-old Congolese student Yette. "Most young people have diplomas but no work."


TRTWorld and agencies