The Republic of Congo holds presidential elections on March 20, with incumbent Denis Sassou Nguesso seeking a third term after a controversial change to the constitution that allows him to extend his 32-year grip on power. (AFP photo)
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The Republic of Congo began voting Sunday under a media blackout, in a tense ballot expected to see President Denis Sassou Nguesso prolong his 32-year rule over the oil-rich but poor nation.Tensions have been running high in Congo since an October referendum when voters agreed changes to the constitution that removed a two-term limit, allowing 72-year-old former paratrooper colonel Sassou Nguesso to run in the election.The vote also removed a 70-year age limit for the presidency that could have forced one of Africa's five longest-serving leaders to step down.Unemployment hit 34 percent in 2013, the last data available, and stood at 60 percent for 15- to 24-year-olds.Sassou Nguesso acknowledges there is a problem.Sassou Nguesso has told voters he needs more time.
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