Presidential Election Poll Opens In Congo

Voters in the Republic of Congo are going to the polls Sunday for the country’s presidential election.
On the eve of the vote, the government ordered telecom providers to block all service during Sunday’s vote.
Congo Interior Minister Raymond Zephirin Mboulou sent a letter to the country’s two main telecom firms, saying that for reasons of national security, they are to block all communication, including text messages on both Sunday and Monday.
The letter, copies of which have appeared online, also refers to a list of numbers that will continue to receive communication during the vote.
The order could raise tensions in the country where longtime President Denis Sassou Nguesso is running for re-election against eight opponents, including former general Jean-Marie Mokoko.
Mokoko, who is seen as the president’s strongest challenger, was summoned to report to police headquarters in the capital, Brazzaville, Saturday for unspecified reasons.
The 71-year-old Sassou Nguesso has ruled Congo for 32 of the last 37 years.
Last October, he pushed through a constitutional change that eliminated a two-term limit and an age limit of 70 for presidential candidates.
The opposition boycotted the referendum in which the change was approved and said turnout for that vote was in the single digits.

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