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Congo presidential election 'shall go well' - Francophonie Envoy

Congo presidential election 'shall go well' - Francophonie Envoy

Republic of the Congo

An envoy of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) has told AFP that the Republic of Congo’s presidential election on Sunday should “go well”.

At the end of an observation mission in Brazzaville on Thursday, the special envoy, Michel Kafando, assured the Secretary General of the OIF, Michaëlle Jean, that “the mission ended with optimism”.

The Burkinabe diplomat nevertheless considered that there was a risk of disturbances in case there is a “big difference” between published results and those compiled by the opposition in the first round.

If there is no excessive handling of results, I think that the opposition will continue the contest as it has promised, that is to say, by appealing to the appropriate bodies to resolve any dispute.

“We are confident that some things should be fine. If it happens that no one interprets the situation and it is handled well, there will be no problems,” Mr. Kafando, former president of the transition in Burkina Faso (2014-2015) told AFP in an interview.

Mr. Kafando said he was received by the candidate President Denis Sassou Nguesso who assured that the elections would be “open”. Representatives of the other candidates have meanwhile promised that any electoral disputes would be settled by legal means.

Eight people are vying to face Sassou Nguesso who has spent 32 years of power as the head of the country and is seeking a third term.

For the fear of fraud and mistrust of the new Independent National Electoral Commission (CNEI) which they see as too close to the government, five opposition candidates have created their own “Electoral Technical Commission” to ensure that published results are consistent with collated results.

“If there is no excessive handling of results, I think that the opposition will continue the contest as it has promised, that is to say, by appealing to the appropriate bodies to resolve any dispute,“Mr. Kafando said.

“But if by chance we experience tampering – because even the opposition [with a large number of candidates] is also expected to have a number of votes – if it’s too obvious, it’s [where fear will] overflow,” he added.

The nomination of Mr. Sassou Nguesso was made possible through a change of constitution in November. The opposition called the October referendum a “constitutional coup” that allowed the adoption of the new constitution, but decided to contest in the elections.

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