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The candidate from the Republic of Congo was hospitalized with COVID-19

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Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo (AP) – A leading opposition candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Congo was receiving oxygen at a private hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19, a family member said, questioning Sunday’s election.

The result of the election was already certain, but certain, even before the confirmation of Guy Bryce Parfait Colelas’s illness. President Dennis Sasso N’Guesso has been in power for more than 36 years, most recently gaining 60% of the vote in 2016. But the Central African country ‘s constitution stipulates that elections can be postponed if a candidate dies or fails to vote.

Leading opponent of the president, Colelas, bypassed his campaign on Friday, telling some reporters the day before that he feared he had malaria. One of the relatives, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that plans were being made to evacuate Colelas abroad for further treatment.

A 61-year-old man is diabetic and has a higher risk of complications than COVID-19. A video released on Friday shows Coleles wearing an oxygen mask with a blood pressure fist in his hand as he lies in a hospital bed.

“My dear compatriots, I am in trouble. “I’m fighting death,” the candidate said in a low voice after removing his oxygen mask. “Nevertheless, I ask you to stand up and vote for change. I would not fight for anything. “

The campaign spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the video և Colelas Hospitalization. Two people at the hospital who saw the results of the Colelas test confirmed to the AP late Saturday night that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

There was no immediate response from the government to the developments late Saturday night.

Colelas came in second in the 2016 presidential election from Sasso N’Guesso with about 15% of the vote. In recent days, the opposition figure has been particularly critical of the incumbent leader, declaring that the Republic of the Congo has become a “police state”.

Sassou N’Guesso is Africa’s third-longest-serving president, ruling from 1979-1992, and again since 1997 in a country overshadowed by its vast neighbor, Congo.

The epidemic in the Republic of Congo has had less than 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 134 confirmed deaths.

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Associated Press writer Christa Larson contributed to Dakar, Senegal.

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