Brazzaville – Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso will seek a third term in office during presidential elections in March in line with recent changes to the country’s constitution, his party said Monday.
One of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, Sassou Nguesso has served as head of state for nearly 32 years, and was on Monday named as the official candidate for the ruling Congolese Labour Party (PCT), which he founded in 1969.
“The PCT’s Central Committee confirms the candidacy of Denis Sassou Nguesso as its candidate for the presidential election of March 20, 2016,” said a statement issued after a meeting of the party’s leadership.
The announcement came three months after Congo adopted a new constitution which allowed Sassou Nguesso to extend his stay in office.
The new constitution was adopted following a landslide ‘yes’ vote in a controversial October referendum that was denounced by the opposition as “a constitutional coup”.
Before the changes, the constitution had stipulated a maximum age of 70 for presidential candidates and limit on the number of terms to two.
At 72, Sassou Nguesso was over the age limit and had already served two consecutive seven-year terms.
A presidential election had been scheduled for July this year but in December, the government said it would bring forward the date to March.
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