Congo. In a disputed referendum in the fall of 2015, an amendment to the country’s constitution was approved that allowed President Denis Sassou-Nguesso to run for another term. In January, he was named candidate for the ruling Congolese Workers’ Party (PCT). Before the election, which was held in March, five of the other presidential candidates signed an agreement in which they pledged to support it by those who would possibly move on to a second round of elections. However, such a thing never became relevant as Sassou-Nguesso received 60% of the votes already in the first round of elections. According to countryaah, the current population of Congo is 5,518,098. The elections generally seemed to have been calm even though the police had felt compelled to intervene against opposition supporters outside a polling station. The media were prohibited from reporting during the election day and a few days thereafter, while telecommunications in the country were switched off.
According to thereligionfaqs, at the end of March, in the southern parts of the capital, Brazzaville, where the opposition has strong support, a strike of a kind held several times since the referendum last year. In early April, security forces clashed with people who, according to the government, belonged to the formally disbanded rebel movement Ninja Nsiloulou. Seventeen people lost their lives in connection with the violence. The so-called Ninjamilis had close ties to the presidential candidate Guy Brice Parfait Koléla’s father. Koléla himself attempted to have the election results failed in four regions, but the Constitutional Court rejected his request for an inquiry because of a technicality. In April, former Finance Minister Clément Mouamba was appointed new Prime Minister.
In May, the Congolese authorities asked the EU to call their ambassador after the Union criticized the presidential election. The EU had also criticized the constitutional changes that allowed the president to remain in power and refused to send election observers to Congo. In the aftermath of the election, one of the candidates, Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, was indicted for violation of national security since a video recording from 2007 showed Mokoko expressing his support for a plan to have Sassou-Nguesso deposed. Mokoko received 14% of the vote in the March elections. In July, opposition politician Paulin Makaya was sentenced to two years in prison and fines for being turned up for protests in connection with the referendum in the fall of 2015.