DRC Election Results Expected Friday

Posted December 9th, 2011 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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Election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo expect to release the preliminary results of the presidential vote on Friday, three days later than originally scheduled.

VOA's West Africa correspondent said late Thursday that supporters of President Joseph Kabila and opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi had begun to celebrate in anticipation of an announcement that their candidate won the November 28 election.

Earlier results, from about 90 percent of polling places, showed President Kabila won 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.

Also Thursday, witnesses say there were some clashes between protesters and police in the capital, Kinshasa. In another report, witnesses say police used tear gas and fired into shots into the air to break up a demonstration by supporters of Mr.Tshisekedi in the Limete section of Kinshasa.

The capital 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.