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Congo Opposition Group Wants Elections Annulled


A group of opposition parties in the Republic of the Congo wants Sunday's flawed parliamentary elections annulled. Counting began in the evening after many polling stations opened late or not at all. Franz Wild reports for VOA from Brazzaville.

The alliance calling for the annulment of Sunday's vote is made up of about 40 parties and opposition groups. The group calls itself the Opposition Parties of the Presidential Majority, Religious Confessions and Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations.

The group says too many people were left off the electoral roll and too many polling stations either failed to open or opened with serious delays.

Around two million voters were to elect members of a 137-seat national assembly, dominated by President Denis Sassou-Nguesso's Congolese Labor Party.

The electoral commission admitted there were problems, but said it had made every effort to organize a free and fair ballot.

The Pan-African Union for a Social Democracy, the party of former President Pascal Lissouba, said it hoped to improve on its six seats, but said it was concerned by the many irregularities and low voter turn-out.

Mr. Sassou-Nguesso, 64, ousted Mr. Lissouba in 1997 triggering two years of civil war, which left 10,000 dead and 800,000 displaced.

Mr. Sassou-Nguesso's party is widely expected to retain control of parliament in the oil-rich country. He is up for election in 2009, when he will have have completed a quarter of a century in office, with a five-year gap in the middle.

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