Leading the News -
Republic of Congo -
On March 20th, the Republic of Congo (ROC) held voting in a presidential election that was predicted to see President Denis Sassou Nguesso extend his three-decade rule. Leading up to the opening of the polls, the Congolese Government order mobile phone and internet services to be blocked on election day and banned motor vehicle use across the country, citing security concerns. There were also reports of police firing tear gas at opposition supporters gathered in Brazzaville to follow the vote counting.
On March 21st, the U.S. Department of State congratulated the Congolese people for their active participation in the March 20th presidential elections, praising their enthusiasm and determination to register to vote and peacefully engage. The State Department, however, noted numerous reports of irregularities that have raised concerns about the credibility of the process, including the media blackout during the polls, an imbalanced and restrictive media environment, significant disparity in access to state resources, a short timeframe for electoral preparations, and restrictions on freedoms of expression, communication, and association in the pre-election period. As the vote tallying continued, the State Department called on Congolese authorities to restore communications and complete the electoral process with accuracy, credibility, fairness, and transparency, and urged the Congolese people to remain patient and avoid speculation.
Please see full Update below for more information.