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There is little public enthusiasm for the elections on 12 July and an easy victory for President Denis Sassou-Nguesso looks assured

Next month’s elections do not scare the regime of President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. The opposition is fragmented and lacks a credible strategy (AC Vol 48 No 15). In any case, the government has kept firm control of the electoral register, which independent observers believe now contains 458,000 ghost voters, in a country of just 3.7 million people. At the elections in 2002, Denis Sassou-Nguesso converted himself into a constitutional ruler five years after seizing power through the 1997 civil war. The electoral register in opposition-supporting regions had been altered to exclude many locals while including presidential loyalists, such as Rwandan Interahamwe militia recruited to the government army. During the last seven years, President Sassou-Nguesso has reinforced his position by neutralising old foes, exploiting their loss of determination after years in exile.

(This article contains approximately 1342 words)

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