Congo president Sassou Nguesso re-elected in first round

Interior minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou announced the results on national television at 3:30 am

Thursday March 24 2016

upporters of Incumbent President Denis Sassou Nguessu celebrate in the streets of Brazzaville after information of an early lead in the electoral results spread through the city on March 22, 2016.  AFP PHOTO | MARCO LONGARI

Supporters of Incumbent President Denis Sassou Nguessu celebrate in the streets of Brazzaville after information of an early lead in the electoral results spread through the city on March 22, 2016. AFP PHOTO | MARCO LONGARI 

By AFP
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BRAZZAVILLE, CONGO

Congo president Denis Sassou Nguesso extended his 32 years in power winning elections in the first round with 60 per cent of the vote, the interior minister said Thursday.

Interior minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou announced the results on national television at 3:30 am (0230 GMT) following a tense weekend poll held under a communications blackout.

The official count gave Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas 15 per cent of the vote and General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko came in third with 14 per cent.

On Wednesday, the two opposition candidates rejected partial results released by the national electoral commission, which gave the country's long-time ruler 67 percent of votes.

Oil- and timber-rich Congo has been on edge since an October constitutional referendum that ended a two-term limit on presidential mandates, allowing the 72-year-old former paratrooper colonel to run for office again.

The long-serving leader is accused by critics of rampant corruption and nepotism and of stifling democracy.

Authorities imposed a communications blackout during the vote to prevent opposition candidates from publishing their own results. A government source said they would remain suspended until after the official results were announced.

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