Generally Peaceful Voting In DR Congo’s Elections
UN REPORTS GENERALLY PEACEFUL VOTING IN DR CONGO’S HISTORIC ELECTIONS
New York, Jul 31 2006 10:00AM
As the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) went to the polls this weekend for the firsts time in more than four decades, voting was largely peaceful, according to the United Nations mission in the country (MONUC), which supported the electoral process in one of the largest operations of its kind.
“The Congolese vote passed in relative calm this Sunday July 30 2006, in the first free and democratic elections which the country has known for more than 40 years,” MONUC said in a statement, reporting “no major incidents of note” up to the early afternoon.
Polling stations opened at 6 a.m. to accommodate almost 25 million voters who will have to choose from among 32 candidates for the presidential election, and more than 9,000 candidates for the National Assembly.
In all provinces the majority of the nearly 50,000 polling stations opened on time and the Congolese took part in the elections, patiently waiting to slip their votes into the ballot box, MONUC said.
Some incidents occurred in opposition strongholds such as Mbuji Mayi, in Kasaï Oriental, where many offices could not open their doors on time, and where 134 electoral kits were destroyed during “acts of antisocial behaviour,” the mission reported. In addition, one of the polling stations was burned down but there were no casualties.
In other areas of the country, such as the Kivu provinces and the district of Ituri, which were prey to insecurity in the recent past, the vote was held in “relative calm,” according to MONUC.
The Independent Electoral Commission estimates that official results of the first round of presidential elections will be known in approximately three weeks.
There will be no provisional results. The final results of the legislative elections will be known after the results of the presidential election.