Congo Brazzaville Elections: President Nguesso Leads as Opposition vow never to accept Results

Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso has extended his 32 years in power, winning presidential elections in the first round with 60 percent of the vote, the interior minister said.

Interior Minister Raymond Zephyrin Mboulou announced the results on national television at 3.30am local time (02:30 GMT) on Thursday morning following a tense weekend poll held under a communications blackout.

The official count gave Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas 15 percent of the vote and General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko came in third with a little less than 14 percent.

Opposition candidates that President Denis Sassou Nguesso placed no better than fourth in any major district, rejecting official partial results that gave him a commanding lead.

Opposition leaders have vowed will not accept another win for the incumbent. The government has extended an order to shut down mobile phones and the internet to prevent unrest.

Charles Zacharie Bowao, the head of a coalition of five opposition candidates, posted its summary of preliminary results — showing Sassou Nguesso trailing others — on his Twitter account.

It said this was based on results collected from regions representing more than 75 percent of the electorate, though no exact vote totals were provided.

“It is impossible that the candidate-president could claim a victory, even taking into account only the partial results,” the coalition said in a statement.

Oil and timber rich Congo has been on edge since an October constitutional referendum that ended a two-term limit on presidential mandates, allowing the 72-year-old former paratrooper colonel to run for office again.

The long-serving leader is accused by critics of rampant corruption and nepotism and of stifling democracy.

Authorities imposed a communications blackout during the vote to prevent opposition candidates from publishing their own results. A government source said they would remain suspended until after the official results were announced.