DRC Election Results Postponed Again

Posted December 8th, 2011 at 5:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have once again postponed the release of election results, with the two main contenders continuing to claim victory.

VOA's West Africa correspondent said Thursday evening supporters of President Joseph Kabila and opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi in Kinshasa had begun to celebrate an announcement they expected to give the election to their candidate.

But election officials now say the complete preliminary results will not be released until Friday morning, three days later than originally scheduled.

Earlier results, from about 90 percent of polling places, showed President Kabila was nearly 50 percent of the vote compared to Mr. Tshisekedi's 33 percent.

But Mr. Tshisekedi's party secretary general told reporters Thursday those numbers do not reflect the vote of the people.

The capital, Kinshasa, has been largely calm, but supporters of both men have hinted that violence could break out if their candidate is not named the winner.

Troops are on standby in case of unrest, and the United Nations, United States, European Union and African Union have urged calm.

The independent International Crisis Group on Thursday called on the international community to mediate the crisis in order to avoid bloodshed.

The balloting was only the second free election since the African nation was torn apart by several years of warfare that ended in 2003.

Voting was supposed to last for one day but stretched into three because of ballot shortages and scattered incidents of violence.