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Congo's Nguesso Wins Re-Election; Opposition Alleges Fraud


Supporters of newly re-elected Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso celebrate his victory in Brazzaville on March 24, 2016 after the Independent Electoral Commission declared him the winner.

Supporters of newly re-elected Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso celebrate his victory in Brazzaville on March 24, 2016 after the Independent Electoral Commission declared him the winner.

Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso has been declared the winner of Sunday's presidential election, which the opposition says was marred by massive fraud.

Congo's interior minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou announced the results on national television at 3:30 a.m. Thursday, saying Nguesso captured 60 percent of the vote.

Official results showed runner-up Guy-Brice Parfair Kolelas in second place with 15 percent, followed by former general Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko third with 14 percent.

Both of Nguesso's main rivals had rejected partial results released Wednesday. In an interview with Radio France Internationale, Mokoko called for an independent committee to review the results from individual polling stations

Congo incumbent President Denis Sassou N'Guesso casts his ballot, at a polling station, in Brazzaville, Congo, March 20, 2016.

Congo incumbent President Denis Sassou N'Guesso casts his ballot, at a polling station, in Brazzaville, Congo, March 20, 2016.

Sunday's vote was held under a nationwide telephone and Internet blackout ordered by the interior minister, who said it was needed for security reasons.

The election followed a voter referendum last October which removed age and term limits that would have prevented the 72-year-old Nguesso from seeking re-election. Critics of the the poll accused the president of a "constitutional coup."

Nguesso initially served as Congo's president from 1979 to 1992. After losing an election, he returned to power during a 1997 civil war and won re-election in disputed polls in 2002 and 2009.

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