Five opposition candidates, who were defeated in Congo’s recent presidential elections, have called for “peaceful” protests against the re-election of incumbent President Denis Sassou Nguesso for a new five-year term.
Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, who received more than 15 percent of the votes, and Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, who came third with almost 14 percent, as well as three other presidential candidates made the plea in a statement released on Saturday.
“We urge the Congolese people to fully exercise their sovereignty over a democratic victory through elections recognized by law: dead cities and other strikes, meetings and peaceful marches, until the verdict of the ballot boxes is respected,” the statement read.
The opposition figures described the circumstances surrounding last week’s polls as “an abuse of power,” calling for the first post-election industrial action on March 29.
Sassou Nguesso won 60 percent of the votes cast in the March 20 elections, which were dismissed by the opposition as fraudulent.
The 72-year-old former paratrooper colonel served as president from 1979 to 1992 and returned to power in 1997 following a civil war. He further won two successive terms in 2002 and 2009.