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Republic of Congo

Ruling party wins run-off elections

BRAZZAVILLE — The ruling Congolese Labor Party of President Denis Sassou Nguesso won a large majority in run-off legislative elections last weekend, with 89 of the 136 seats, final results showed this week.

The party, in power since 1997, had taken 57 of the 69 seats that were won outright in the first round July 15, with another 10 going to its allies and just one to the opposition and another to an independent candidate.

In Sunday’s second round, the Labor Party won another 32 of the 67 seats still up for grabs, Interior Minister Raymond Zephirin Mboulou said.

Independent candidates close to the Labor Party won 12 seats, against seven for the allied Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development. Overall, the Labor Party and its allies took 117 seats.

The main opposition Pan-African Union for Social Democracy, which held 11 seats in the outgoing legislature, now has just seven deputies.

Kenya

Parliament opens with plush leather seats

NAIROBI — Parliament opened this week newly refurbished at a cost of more than $11 million with plush red leather seats for lawmakers each with a price tag of $2,400.

A parliamentary official said the cost was actually lower than expected because the chairs were made by prisoners. The original budget allocated for the seats was twice the amount actually spent.

President Mwai Kibaki opened the 350-seat renovated parliament, calling it an “institution for governing as well as defending the rights of Kenyans, particularly the underprivileged.”

Kenyan lawmakers are some of the best paid in Africa, with a tax-free monthly salary of $13,000.

The national minimum wage is $145, with a per capita gross domestic product of $774, according to the World Bank.

South Africa

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