Election In Congo: Low Turnout As Opposition Calls For Boycott
The Republic of Congo held a Presidential Election on Sunday. However, the opposition has called for a boycott of the election early on, leading to a very low voter turnout of less than 10%. It is not clear whether such a negligible turnout will guarantee any candidate's victory.
Incumbent president Denis Sassou-Nguesso ran for the second seven-year term. He faced 12 opponents, four of whom decried the election as already tainted and called for a general boycott. Despite the boycott, Sassou-Nguesso is widely expected to win the election.
Opposition candidates had called for election day to be moved because of irregularities in voter lists. They pointed to electoral lists they said included the names of dead people, fictitious voters, minors, and foreigners.
statement from the opposition candidates"The Congolese people have clearly expressed themselves with this record abstention of more than 90 per cent."
Previous elections in the Republic of Congo turned violent, leading many Congolese to set money aside or leave the capital where protests have been scheduled ahead of the election on Sunday. However, no major violence outbreaks took place in the country on the election night.
Opposition parties, citing irregularities in voter lists and cards, had called for the vote to be postponed to allow for the creation of a new election commission and the clean up of voter lists, which were a source of complaints during 2002 polls.
The election commission says that some 2.2 million people will be eligible to vote for the 13 candidates. But many say they have not been issued with their cards while opposition parties say an extra 500,000 cards have been printed for fraud.
At one location in southern Brazzaville as few as 52 of 924 registered voters reportedly cast their ballots.