Sassou-Nguesso, Denis

Sassou-Nguesso, Denis dĕ´nē säs´ō-əngā´sō [key], 1943?–, Congolese army officer and president (1979–92, 1997–) of Congo (Brazzaville). He served (1977–79) as the minister of national defense. As president he won approval for a new Marxist constitution and signed (1981) a friendship treaty with the USSR, while maintaining the Congo's strong economic ties with France. The increasing economic impoverishment of the Congo, however, led to a national political conference (1991) that stripped him of many powers. In 1992 he ran for reelection in a democratic contest and came in third. Prolonged fighting and unrest following disputed parliamentary elections in 1993 ultimately led to a victory by Sassou-Nguesso's forces in 1997, and he again became president. He was elected president in 2002 and reelected in 2009 both votes were marred by irregularities.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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