The Congo Republic’s ruling party confirmed President Denis Sassou Nguesso as its candidate for March elections, clearing another obstacle to him extending his 18-year rule over the oil-producing nation.
“This is the best choice,” Pierre Ngolo, secretary-general of the Congolese Labor Party, told reporters late Monday in the capital, Brazzaville, after a meeting of the group’s leadership. Sassou Nguesso represents the “values of peace, dialogue, sharing, democracy and national unity,” he said.
The central African nation holds elections on March 20, with changes to the constitution approved in an October referendum allowing Sassou Nguesso to seek a third term. Opposition groups say they will participate if there’s a reliable voter list and an independent electoral body to organize the vote.
Sassou Nguesso led Congo from 1979 to 1992 then returned to power at the end of a civil war in 1997. He was elected in 2002 and 2009 in votes whose results were disputed by the opposition.