The president of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, is seeking re-election.
If re-elected, Sassou Nguesso would serve his fourth term as president and would have spent a mammoth 36 years in power.
“Every party in the presidential majority opted, or will do so shortly, for President Sassou Nguesso’s candidacy,” Pierre Moussa, acting chairman of the 17 parties in the coalition, said during a press conference. “The presidential majority believes that of all its leaders, it is President Sassou Nguesso who holds all the trump cards.”
Sassou Nguesso, 77, first became president in 1979. He is one of the longest-serving leaders in the world.
In 2015, voters in the Congo Republic supported a change in the constitution to allow Sassou Nguesso to run for a third consecutive term.
“I decided to give the people a direct voice” on the bill, Sassou Nguesso said in a statement on public radio and television.
The president secured a whopping 92 percent of voters in the referendum. Turnout stood at 72 percent of the more than 1.8 million registered voters. According to the electoral commission, more than 1.2 million people voted in favor of the change, while just 102,000 rejected it.
Opposition leader Pascal Tsaty Mabiala, secretary of the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy party, cast doubt on the figures.
“It (the result) is not legitimate. It is not credible. There is no way there could have been 70 percent turnout. For us, this result is a fantasy,” he told Reuters news agency.