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Congo: Sassou-Nguesso re-elected with 88.57% of vote, early results

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ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP or licensors

Republic of the Congo

Congo-Brazzaville's incumbent leader Denis Sassou-Nguesso has won the presidential election with 88.57% of the vote, according to preliminary results from the electoral commission.

It will see him serve another five-year term.

The 77-year-old leader has been in power for a total of 36 years.

The preliminary results showed he is well ahead of his main rival Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who died from coronavirus on Sunday.

Kolelas took 7.84% of the vote, according to the results which can be appealed to the Constitutional Court.

Voter participation was at 67.55%.

One of the world's longest-serving rulers, Sassou Nguesso was the frontrunner in an election boycotted by the main opposition and under an internet blackout.

He has long been accused by critics of iron-fisted rule and turning a blind eye to corruption, poverty and inequality despite abundant oil wealth.

Who is the incumbent president?

Sassou Nguesso, a former paratrooper, first rose to power in the Republic of Congo in 1979.

He was forced to introduce multi-party elections in 1991 and was defeated at the ballot box a year later.

But he returned to power in 1997 following a prolonged civil war and has won every election since then, in conditions that the opposition says were fraudulent.

A constitutional amendment in 2015, which ended a ban on presidential candidates aged over 70 and scrapped a two-term limit, allowed him to run again in 2016. Two candidates in that vote -- former army general Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and ex-minister Andre Okombi Salissa -- were sentenced in 2018 to 20 years in prison for "undermining state security".

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