Tense DRC Awaits Complete Poll Results Disputed by Opposition

Posted December 8th, 2011 at 3:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Tension is high in the Democratic Republic of Congo where voters are awaiting full election results in a presidential poll the opposition claims was stolen by the incumbent president.

Election officials promised to release the complete preliminary results on Thursday night, two days later than they originally scheduled due to logistical problems.

As the nation awaited the announcement, the party of opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi rejected the results in advance and called on supporters to mobilize.

The party's secretary general Jaquemin Shabani told reporters in the capital, Kinshasa, the results being cited by election officials do not reflect the vote of the people.

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

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.