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Voting for the presidential election in the Republic of the Congo proceeded peacefully Sunday, said authorities.

The voting began from 7:00 a.m., local time, and will last until 6:00 p.m., according to the Congolese Minister of the Interior Raymond Mboulou, who announced the details of the presidential election on national television.

The polling stations opened a little later than initially planned because of the rains. About 2.5 million registered voters can vote among seven candidates, including the outgoing president Denis Sassou Nguesso. Advance voting for the military ended on March 17 to ensure security of the polling day this Sunday.

The internet was cut nationwide a few hours before the vote, but phone calls and text messages are not down as they were in 2016. The results are expected in two or three days.

The main opponent of the outgoing president and unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2016, Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas, was hospitalized on the eve of the vote after being diagnosed with COVID-19. His campaign manager announced that he would go to France for treatment.

The President of the Congo is elected for a five-year term with absolute majority, and a second round between the two candidates with the highest votes is needed if no candidate obtains absolute majority in the first round. The outgoing President Nguesso is running for a 5th consecutive term since 1997.

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