Congo Opposition Resists Third-Term Push

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Congo Republic’s opposition parties have convened an Alternative National Forum in rejection of a government-sponsored conference that opens the door to President Denis Sassou Nguesso seeking a third term next year.

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The government-backed talks this month, boycotted by the main opposition alliance FROCAD, recommended changing the constitution to remove a two-term limit on the president and to scrap an age cap of 70, both of which would have disqualified the 71-year-old Sassou Nguesso from running again.

The former military officer has ruled the oil-producing central African nation for a total of 31 years in two spells since 1979.

“Altering the January 20 2002, constitution would be a constitutional coup because it would violate the spirit, the principles and the respect of that constitution,” Guy Romain Kinfoussia, a senior member of FROCAD, said in an opening address to the conference late on Sunday.

 Congo is on track to leapfrog Equatorial Guinea to become sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest crude producer by 2017, yet half of its 4.5 million population live in poverty, according to the World Bank.

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