Republic of the Congo Legislative and Local Elections: July 2022

Supporters of the 2015 referendum to remove presidential term limits and allow Sassou to run for another term demonstrate in front of the parliament building in Brazzaville. Elections in the Republic of the Congo have been marred by fraud and violence. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Daniel Massamba (CC BY 2.0)

Freedom House Rating

Not Free
Government Type
Presidential Republic
5.3 million
Parliamentary and Local Elections
July 2022 (due)
Presidential Election
March 2026 (due)
Presidential Election
March 21, 2021
Legislative and Local Elections
July 7, 2017

The Republic of the Congo (sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville) will legislative and local elections in July 2022. The exact date is yet to be decided, but the government has confirmed that the elections will take place in 2022. These follow the 2021 presidential election.

Political Context

Denis Sassou Nguesso has ruled the Republic of the Congo as president almost continuously since 1979. Called a “Pierre Cardin Marxist” because of his affection for luxury goods, Sassou has ruled with an iron fist and maintained power by repressing his opponents. He lost an election to Pascal Lissouba from the main opposition party Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS) in 1992. However, Sassou ousted Lissouba in 1997, following a civil war, the country’s second in a decade. He has remained president ever since.

Prior to the 2016 presidential election, Sassou Nguesso held a referendum to remove presidential term limits, which sparked protests, some violent. A crackdown on the opposition followed. The opposition boycotted the referendum, and it therefore passed overwhelmingly

The opposition called the 2016 elections an “electoral holdup” amidst widespread reports of electoral fraud and an internet and mobile blackout. Following the election, Sassou jailed his two of his opponents: Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and Andre Okombi Salissa.

The 2021 Election in the Republic of the Congo

Sassou ran for yet another term in 2021. His Congolese Party of Labor (PCT) unanimously nominated him as a candidate. Six other candidates are on the ballot, although the main opposition (UPADS) boycotted.

Sassou ultimately was declared winner with 88 percent of the vote, and his main opponent, Guy Brice Parfait Kolélas, who placed second in 2016, died of covid-19 right after the election.

Many – including the country’s Catholic bishops – critiqued the fairness of the election. Moreover, Sassou has purchased a cache of weapons from Azerbaijan ahead of the election. He had reportedly used weapons from Azerbaijan to attack the opposition after the last election.

Curated News and Analysis

Laudes Martial Mbon, AFP (May 28, 2021): Congo’s Sassou Nguesso turns to inner circle for new government

Africanews (April 16, 2021): Congo’s Dennis Sassou -Nguesso sworn in for fifth term

Brett L. Carter, African Arguments (April 13, 2021): Congo: Sassou Nguesso wins another term but still faces two big threats

AFP (April 3, 2021): COVID-19 victim Kolelas won Congo vote, opposition party claims

RFI (March 25, 2021): Congo-Brazzaville opposition vows to appeal ‘rigged’ Nguesso re-election

AFP (March 24, 2021): Sassou Nguesso, ‘Emperor’ of oil-rich Congo, wins election

Al Jazeera (March 21, 2021): Polls open in Congo as main opposition party boycotts election

Matthieu Vendrely, TV5Monde (March 15, 2021 – in French): Presidential in Congo: Denis Sassou Nguesso, chronicle of a presidency for life

Africanews (March 12, 2021): Congo: Human rights activist arrested 10 days before election

Guiseppe Liguori, Focus on Africa (February 28, 2021 – in Italian): Republic of the Congo: Sassou-Nguesso, a bloodthirsty and ruthless tyrant

Khadija Sharife and Mark Anderson, OCCRP (February 22, 2021): Congo-Brazzaville Strongman Buys Secret Weapons Haul from Azerbaijan

Catholic News Service (February 5, 2021): Bishops in Republic of Congo worried presidential election won’t be fair

AFP (January 31, 2021): Main opposition to boycott Congo elections

Elie Smith, Bloomberg (October 22, 2020): Congo Republic Plans to Settle Domestic Debt Ahead of 2021 Vote

Andréa Ngombet, Vanguard Africa (March 20, 2020): We mustn’t allow another sham election in the Republic of Congo

Amnesty International (March 23, 2020): Congo-Brazzaville: Opposition supporters spending fourth month in jail must be released

AP (December 31, 2019): Congo’s Veteran President Set to Run Anew in 2021

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

Updated January 16, 2022
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