Presidential election in Congo set to be held in March

Republic of Congo to hold early presidential election in March as President Sassou Nguesso gains right to extend his rule after change of constitution

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Congo's President Denis Sassou Nguesso speaks during a news conference after his meeting with Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi at Carthage Palace in Tunis January 22, 2015

Congo Republic is set to hold early presidential elections on March 20, as a new constitutional laws removed barriers for President Sassaou Nguesso who expected to seek a third consecutive mandate in 2016 elections after 31 years of rule.

According to the new constitutional law which approved by a public vote with four percent of opposition, there won’t be a 70-year-old limit for presidential candidates and presidents will be able to serve more than two terms. 

However, the opposition commented on the vote saying that it was a “constitutional coup.”

Before the October referendum, over 300,000 people have gathered to protest the constitutional change to extend Nguesso’s rule.  At least four people died and more than 10 others injured during the protest against Nguesso who first served between 1979 and 1992 and then came to power again in 1997, after Second Congo Civil War which killed millions of people. 

The killings of security forces caused public outrage and condemned by human rights groups.

Seventy two-year-old Nguesso said after the new arrangements in the constitution that he wanted to bring a “new dynamic” by taking the election which was due to be hold in July to earlier date.

“The council of ministers decided to convene the electorate on Sunday, March 20, 2016, for the first round of elections for the president of the republic” said one of the attendees of ministers meeting on Wednesday.

TRTWorld and agencies