Congo Republic court rejects Sassou win complaints

Congo Republic’s top court has rejected all legal challenges to incumbent President Denis Sassou-Nguesso’s victory in a July 12 election, the court said on Saturday.

Congo’s Constitutional Court threw out the complaints lodged this week by five candidates and confirmed Sassou-Nguesso’s first round victory with 78.6 percent of the vote, giving him another seven years running the oil exporting nation.

“Having considered the allegations, which were made with unsubstantiated claims and a lack of relevance, the complaints … are rejected,” Gerard Bitsindou, head of the court, told journalists on Saturday.

Opposition candidates Clement Mierassa, Mathias Dzon, Bonaventure Mizidy and Guy Romain Kinfoussia were joined by independent candidate Jean Francois Tchibinda Kouangou in their legal challenge against the results this week.

They have called Sassou-Nguesso’s victory an electoral coup d’etat and complained that the electoral lists used for the election were tampered with, giving the president an easy win.

The European Union did not send observers for the election but complained that there had not been any significant electoral reform since polls in 2002, which were also marred by complaints of irregularities and opposition boycotts.

However, observers from the African Union and a grouping of Central African states have called the poll transparent.

Sassou-Nguesso has been in and out of power since a 1979 coup, losing elections in 1992 before sweeping back into power in a war that destroyed much of the capital in 1997. Most of his rivals were banned from or boycotted the last poll in 2002.

Although the years of oil exports have failed the lift most of the country’s population out of poverty, the opposition remains deeply divided. This week, another set of opposition candidates, known as the moderates, accepted the results.

Attempts to hold street protests against the results have been quickly snuffed out by the security forces.


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