Ferrex raises funds for Togo‚ Malelane projects Congo president's party posts strong poll result
The Congolese Labour Party of President Denis Sassou Nguesso retained its dominance in the first round of legislative elections.
BRAZZAVILLE - The Congolese Labour Party of President Denis Sassou Nguesso retained its dominance in the first round of legislative elections in results announced Friday.
But the aftermath of Sunday's election has already been marred by violence and an accusation of fraud.
The PCT took 57 of the 69 seats that were won outright in the first-round vote, according to the interior ministry.
Another 10 were won by parties allied to the PCT; just one was taken by the opposition, while another went to an independent candidate. The other places in the 135-seat parliament will be decided in a second round scheduled for August 5.
Interior Minister Raymond Zephirin Mboulou did not release turnout figures, but the Congolese Human Rights Observatory put it at only 15 percent.
Observers from the Economic Community of Central African States and from the African Union also reported low turnout, without citing a specific figure.
The PCT and its allies already held an overwhelming majority in the outgoing parliament, where the opposition had just 12 deputies. The main opposition party, the Panafrican Union for Social Democracy (UPADS), claimed the lone first-round opposition victory.
The PCT took 11 seats in Sassou Nguesso's northern stronghold of Cuvette, where the president's son Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, a director at state-owned oil company SNPC, won outright.
The president's daughter Claudia Lembouma Sassou Nguesso, who is communications advisor to her father, also won a seat in the capital Brazzaville.
Sassou Nguesso's son-in-law Hugues Ngouelondele also won outright in the central town of Gamboma. A four-year-old child was injured by a stray bullet and two other people were wounded in Gamboma as opposition protesters stormed an elections commission office after polls closed on Sunday.
Two Ukrainian pilots also died when the Congolese army helicopter they were flying crashed while returning from the town after the post-election violence.
The protest was sparked by a claim of fraud by Ngouelondele's opponent Mathias Dzon, the leader of opposition coalition Alliance for the Republic and Democracy (ARD).
Dzon said Friday the first-round vote had been "completely rigged." "It has nothing to do with the reality on the ground, it doesn't make any sense. We don't recognise these results because they are completely false," he said.
Dzon's party put up 70 candidates in the first round of the vote, but none were successful.
Clement Mierassa of the Front of Parties of the Congolese Opposition said that "the PCT is responsible for the chaotic situation in which Congo finds itself, and yet it's winning elections across the country, that's paradoxical."
"This PCT victory is explained by the disproportionate means used during the electoral campaign," said Roch Euloge of the Congolese Observatory on Human Rights. "There was a mechanism favourable (to the PCT). ...
These elections are just a formality and it's a shame for the young Congolese democracy."
After the last legislative elections in 2007, African Union observers said the polls had been marked by fraud and poor organisation.
The AU and the Economic Community of Central African States also criticised some problems with Sunday's polls in a joint report, though they did not find evidence of fraud.
They said that candidates' representatives had been allowed to act as poll workers, election rolls had been posted too late for voters to find their polling stations and poll staff had been poorly trained on voting procedures and equipment.