News Conference Passes With No DRC Election Results

Posted December 9th, 2011 at 9:00 am (UTC-5)
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Waiting continues in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the release of full presidential election results, delayed since Tuesday.

VOA's West Africa correspondent reports that Congo's electoral commission was expected to announce the results at a news conference Friday in the capital, Kinshasa. But he says three hours passed with no announcement, and that foreign ambassadors who had gathered for the event eventually left.

He said the city appeared to be calm, though most stores remained closed in fear of political unrest.

Supporters of both President Joseph Kabila and his main challenger, Etienne Tshisekedi, have hinted that violence could break out if their candidate is not named the winner.

Earlier results, from about 90 percent of polling places, showed Mr. Kabila heading for re-election with nearly 50 percent of the vote. Mr. Tshisekedi had 33 percent.

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

There will be no run-off election under Congo's new voting system, implemented this year.

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

Last week's presidential and legislative polls were only the second free elections 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 in some areas and scattered incidents of violence.

Human Rights Watch said 18 people were killed in violence leading up to the polls. Several opposition candidates accused the ruling party of rigging the vote, and three candidates have called for the election to be annulled.