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Republic of Congo's Ruling Coalition Wins Election Amidst Accusations of Fraud

Opposition parties and civil society groups are contesting the results of Republic of Congo's legislative elections, announced on Thursday. Officials declared that President Denis Sassou Nguesso's ruling coalition, the Congolese Labor Party, and a dozen allied parties won 124 out of the 137 seats. Monitors have criticized the lack of organization and irregularity during both rounds of voting. Phuong Tran has more from VOA's West and Central African Bureau in Dakar.

African Union election observers said the second round of voting last week had the same problems as the first round on June 24, including low voter turnout, incorrect voter lists, and voters not receiving their cards to vote.

Electoral officials recognized problems with the first round, but said the second one was better organized.

However, Roger Bouka Owozo, president of the Congolese Human Rights Observatory, says there were serious problems with both rounds.

He says the government must declare the results invalid, fix electoral problems by creating a new electoral commission and organize a new election.

He says his group will file a complaint if the government does not address accusations of fraud.

Some 40 opposition parties boycotted the second round. According to the official results, 12 opposition candidates won seats. One candidate had passed away between the two rounds of voting, leaving 11 opposition lawmakers in the new legislature, compared to 14 in the current one.

There are two unfilled seats because of problems organizing the vote in the remote northern province of Likoula.

In the 2002 legislative election, voting did not take place in some parts of the southeast because of heavy fighting between Ninja rebels and the army.

The Republic of Congo is still recovering from civil wars that killed thousands and displaced about a quarter of the population.