Sassou Nguesso’s Long Reign Continues

Sassou Nguesso’s Long Reign Continues
Election posters featuring opposition presidential candidate Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, right, and President Denis Sassou N'Guesso, left, in Brazzaville, Congo, Friday March 12, 2021.

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Africa Watch by email every week.

Extending a presidency that has lasted more than 36 years, Denis Sassou Nguesso won reelection in the Republic of Congo with nearly 90 percent of the vote, according to provisional results from Sunday’s ballot. His victory was overshadowed by the death of his main opposition opponent, Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, who died on Election Day from COVID-19.

Sassou Nguesso’s resounding victory underscores the near-absolute control he maintains over the country and its critical oil industry, despite his failure to resolve an economic crisis that began with the 2014 collapse in global crude prices. Following last week’s election, which saw his share of the vote increase from 60 percent in the 2016 election, he told supporters, “Democracy is working in our country.”

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