The Republic of Congo heads to a presidential election next Sunday amid deepening distrust as President Denis Sassou N’guesso seeks to extend his already three decades in power. The country’s electoral campaign is in full swing, but the main opposition coalition, the IDC-Frocad, said authorities are preventing the candidates from campaigning. IDC-Frocad Spokeperson Guy Romain Kinfoussia said police recently threw tear gas into a meeting held by a candidate of the opposition. And another candidate was refused the right to hold a meeting in a public square. Nine candidates are running, including N’Guesso, already in power for 30 years.
The president held a referendum in October to change the constitution to remove the two term-mandate limit and 70-year-old age ceiling for candidates. The referendum passed with 92 percent of vote, a result rejected by the opposition which had called for a boycott.
N’guesso said he aims to win re-election in the first round.