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Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 20:06 UK

Congo leader wins disputed poll

Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso in Brazzaville (10 July 2009)
Mr Sassou-Nguesso has won another seven-year term

The Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso has won another seven years in office, according to preliminary results from Sunday's election.

The electoral commission said Mr Sassou-Nguesso took 78.6% of the vote. His nearest rival gained just 7.5%.

About 2,000 opposition supporters came on to the streets of Brazzaville to protest. They were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas.

Mr Sassou-Nguesso has been in power for most of the past 30 years.

The BBC's Thomas Fessy in Brazzaville described what happened at the demonstration.

"It was a peaceful protest. But the police stormed the demonstrators and scattered them with tear gas.

"They ran after the demonstrators. One man was beaten up in front of us. His face was bleeding."

Our correspondent says that the police also confiscated and destroyed his recording equipment and that of a French television crew.

Opposition leaders had urged voters to stay away from Sunday's election, saying the government had inflated the electoral figures.

A polling station in the Republic of Congo (12 July 2009)
Opponents said the electoral roll had been rigged

On the day, election observers said turnout was low. But figures published on Wednesday by Congo's territorial administration ministry, and reported by Agence France Presse, showed the official turnout at 66.42%.

The candidate who had been expected to be Mr Sassou-Nguesso's nearest rival, the former finance minister Mathias Dzon, won only 2.3% of the vote.

An independent candidate, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia Mboungou came second to the president with 7.46%.

Before the polls closed on Sunday, the head of the African Union observers Dieudonne Kumbo Yaya told the BBC his team was not aware of any fraud having taken place.

But our correspondent witnessed money being handed out at a polling station in the south of the capital, to people who later said they had been asked to vote for Mr Sassou-Nguesso.

Another man said he had not voted because he had not been given a polling card.



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