The Republic of Congo’s electoral commission, Conel, has disqualified 12 parliamentary candidates for disrupting and defrauding the first-round Sunday election, Commission President Charles Emile Apesse announced on Monday.
While most disqualifications were said to favour President Denis Sassou-Nguesso's Parti congolais du travail (the Congolese labour party), affected candidates included the president’s brother, Maurice Nguesso; Finance Minister Mathias Ndzon; and presidential aide Antoinette Nganongo Olou.
Fresh polls will be conducted in districts where voting was disrupted on Sunday, as well as in several districts of the Pool region where voting was prevented by an ongoing conflict.
The turbulence had a serious impact on voter turnout, with government estimates citing "no more than 20 percent" of the eligible electorate having cast their ballots. However, the government did highlight that 300 women were among the 1,200 total candidates competing for 137 seats in the national assembly.
Since 1998, the country has had a National Transitional Council consisting of 75 non-elected members. It was created to replace the bicameral parliament existing prior to the 1997 civil war. The bicameral parliament chosen in this election will replace the council.
Candidates must win 50 percent of the vote to be elected. A second round is due to be held on 23 June, concurrent with local and municipal elections.
The electoral commission said it would continue to investigate reports of voting irregularities.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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