United States calls for ballot scrutiny in ‘unfair’ DRC election

United States calls for ballot scrutiny in ‘unfair’ DRC election

The church, a powerful voice in the heavily Catholic nation, deployed some 40,000 electoral observers but could not say who the clear victor appeared to be, as Congo's electoral regulations forbid anyone but the electoral commission to announce results.

The DRC, sub-Saharan Africa's biggest country and one of its most unstable, has been buffetted by political turbulence for the past two years.

The authorities also cut mobile phone texting, mobile phone service Vodacom said.

Opposition fears are running high that the result will be rigged to favour Kabila's preferred successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

Council members were to hear a report from Leila Zerrougui, who heads the United Nations mission in DR Congo, during the closed-door meeting.

The U.S. strongly urged CENI to ensure that votes are counted in a transparent and open manner, with observers present, and that the results reported by CENI are accurate and correspond to results announced at each of DRC's 75,000 polling stations.

Monitors noted some "irregularities" in Sunday's voting, Father Nshole said.

"The United States stands by the millions of Congolese voters who went to the poll across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on December 30 to participate in presidential, legislative, and provincial assembly election".

But, he stressed, "these were not able to significantly affect the choice which the Congolese people clearly expressed through the ballot box".

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Congo's election commission on Friday scolded the Catholic church for saying its data show a clear victor in Sunday's presidential election, asserting that the announcement could incite an "uprising".

"We are working around the clock".

However, the head of CENI, Corneille Nangaa told the AFP news agency that provisional results may be delayed, saying: "We are working 'round the clock".

"We had proposed a solution" for the DRC's infrastructure problems, "but it was refused, now we have to live with the situation", he said.

The result is expected on January 6. As of Thursday, the electoral commission's president said it had collected results from about 20 percent of polling stations. Both Shadary and the opposition say they expect to win.

US President Donald Trump announced Friday that 80 US military personnel had been deployed to the central African country of Gabon in response to violence in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo centering on its disputed presidential elections.

But the few opinion polls conducted before the vote signalled Martin Fayulu - a little-known legislator and former oil executive - as the clear favourite.

Violence also marred elections in 2006 and 2011.

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