Congo votes to remove presidential term limits

Government says more than 92 percent voted to allow long-term ruler Denis N'Guesso to seek third term in office.

    Congo votes to remove presidential term limits
    President N'Guesso has ruled Congo for 31 of the last 36 years [Reuters]

    More than 92 percent of voters in Congo Republic approved a change to the constitution that will allow President Denis Sassou N'Guesso to run for a third consecutive term, results of a referendum showed.

    N'Guesso has ruled the oil-producing nation for 31 of the last 36 years and the constitutional change makes it possible for the 71-year-old to win a further seven-year mandate at an election due next year.

    Turnout in the referendum held on Sunday was 72 percent, according to figures read by the electoral commission on radio. The opposition boycotted the poll and a senior opposition leader said it should be annulled due to low turnout.

    More than 1.2 million people voted in favour of the change, while nearly 102,000 rejected it, the electoral commission said.

    Sassou N'Guesso ruled the central African country from 1979 until 1992, when he was defeated in a presidential election. His rule resumed five years later after his forces defeated the then-president in a brief civil war.

    He is the latest African president to try to prolong his grip on power by changing the constitution. Several such initiatives have provoked violence, and four died in Congo last week when security forces opened fire on protesters.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.