Congo Republic Announces Presidential Vote to Be Held March 20

The Republic of Congo will hold a presidential election on March 20, months before it was originally scheduled, said government spokesman Lezin Moungalla Thiery.

Changes to the constitution approved in October would allow President Sassou Nguesso to seek a third term and extend his almost two decade-rule, though the leader hasn’t announced if he plans to run. The vote in the oil-producing nation had initially been scheduled for July 2016.

The opposition Republican Front to Respect Constitutional Order and Democratic Change plans to participate in the election provided that the country properly organizes for the vote and the process is free and fair, said spokesman Guy-Romain Kinfoussia.

Sassou Nguesso led Congo Republic from 1979 to 1992 and then returned to power at the end of a civil war in 1997. He was elected in 2002 and 2009 in votes whose results the opposition disputed.

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