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Congo Holds Second-Round Parliamentary Elections

Voters in the Republic of Congo went to the polls for second-round parliamentary elections Sunday, the follow-up to an initial round of voting marred by chaos and confusion.

Candidates in Sunday's vote competed for 84 of 137 seats not decided in the first round of elections.

Reports say many polling stations opened late Sunday after election materials were not delivered on time.

The first round of elections on June 24 was plagued with irregularities, and results were later abandoned in at least 19 areas. Those elections were rerun in mid-July.

Congo's opposition has criticised the government's handling of the polls.

Sunday's results are expected to strengthen the ruling party of President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and its allies, which won the vast majority of seats in the first round of voting.

Opposition groups had called for an annulment of the June 24 vote, saying the election was neither free nor fair.

The government admitted there were flaws in the vote and fired the election's director. But officials denied there was fraud and rejected the call for new elections.

About two million voters cast ballots in the initial election to send representatives to the 137-member national assembly.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.