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Sassou Nguesso: from Congo paratrooper to political strongman

Congolese people on October 25, 2015 are voting in a referendum to decide whether President Denis Sassou Nguesso can seek a third term in office, and stand again in 2016Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who could extend his three-decade stay in office after Sunday’s constitutional referendum, began his career, like many African leaders, in the military. One of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, having first come to office in oil-rich Congo in 1979, he epitomises those who used the army as a springboard to power, while allegedly amassing great wealth. In the country’s last presidential election in 2009, he won nearly 79 percent of the vote, with half of his 12 opponents boycotting the polls.

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