Congo. Just over 84% of the population in January agreed to a new constitution, which strengthens the position of the presidential office. According to Countryaah website, national day of Republic of Congo is every August 15. The term of office of the President is extended from five to seven years with the possibility of re-election. The President cannot be dismissed by Parliament but cannot dissolve the People’s Assembly himself. The new constitution gives Republic of the Congo a two-chamber parliament consisting of a national assembly with 137 seats and a senate with 66 members.
A dozen opposition parties had called for a boycott of the referendum on the grounds that Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who, with the help of a provisional constitution, has ruled the country since 1997, would have unduly great influence over the upcoming presidential election. Despite this, 78% of voters were reported to have participated.
As expected, Sassou-Nguesso won the presidential election in March. He received just over 89% of the vote. The victory was facilitated by the fact that most strong opposition candidates had jumped off in protest that the election, according to them, rested on “unclear legal basis”.
During the spring, new battles flared up in the Pool region, southwest of the capital Brazzaville, between the army and the so-called Ninjamilis. The latter was obeyed during the civil war at the end of the 1990s by former Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas but was now reported to be under the command of Pastor Frédéric Bitsangou. More than 50,000 people were reported to have become homeless or ended up in the middle of the line.
Despite the fighting, parliamentary elections were held in most of the country in May and June. The two parties that are close to Sassou-Nguesso, the Congolese Workers’ Party (PCT) and the United Democratic Forces (FDU), together received 83 of the 129 mandates at stake. In eight constituencies in the Pool region elections could not be held because of the fighting.