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Congo Republic Opposition Groups to Mull Election Date

  • VOA News

FILE - Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguessou arrives to cast his ballot in Brazzaville, Oct. 25, 2015.

FILE - Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguessou arrives to cast his ballot in Brazzaville, Oct. 25, 2015.

Opposition political parties plan to meet next week to decide whether to participate in the Congo Republic’s presidential election now scheduled for March 20.

This, following the recent approval of a new constitution that removed term limits to allow long-term President Denis Sassou Nguesso to seek another term.

Last October's referendum, approved by more than 92 percent of voters, removes a two-term limit and an age limit of 70 for presidential candidates.

But the opposition dismissed the referendum as illegal, which led to the change in the constitution.

Perfect Kolelas, leader of the opposition Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development party, says all the opposition political groups are sharply against the referendum that led to the removal of term limits in the new constitution. He says the groups will soon decide their next line of action about the March presidential vote.

He says the opposition parties are displeased with the decision of President Nguesso to remove term limits and seek re-election.

“We still think the referendum was still illegal and is still illegal. And if we decide to go to the election, it means we are going to win the election. And if we win the election, we are going to cancel the referendum and this constitution. We are going to cancel it.”

Kolelas says Nguesso’s administration has no right to determine the date of the election. This after the Communications Minister announced the formation of a new national electoral committee and the adoption of draft electoral law.

“Our political movements are still working on that. On the 7th and 8th of this month we are going to have a big meeting in order to decide [what] to do in order to go to the election,” said Kolelas.

“We will be happy if everything is good. We are looking for the transparency of the process, we are working on that. If we can get the minimum of transparency of the election, we will [decide] on that.

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