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Africa

DRC poll results lack credibility, says Carter Center

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-24

US-based NGO The Carter Center expressed scepticism Friday about the results of the Democratic Republic of Congo November legislative polls that gave the ruling party and its allies an absolute majority, saying the polls had been "compromised."

AFP - The results of DR Congo's November legislative polls that gave the ruling party and its allies an absolute majority lack credibility, the Carter Center's election observers said Friday.

"The Carter Center finds that as with the (November 28) presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the integrity of the national assembly results has been compromised," a statement said.

The non-profit group founded by former US president Jimmy Carter said it was probably impossible to know exactly how the people voted and called for a broad-based dialogue on the posibility of conducting re-runs.

"It is... perhaps impossible, for the Independent National Election Commission or any other body to reconstruct fully the results in the hopes of producing a faithful record of the will of the people," the statement said.

"If political dialogue and an inclusive assessment of the electoral process are successful, potential outcomes could be a decision to re-run some, or all of the elections, or some other form of political accommodation to establish a legitimate governing authority," it said.

The vast central Africa country held presidential and legislative elections on the same day following a campaign marred by violence and claims by opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi of foul play.

Results for the presidential ballot were released in late December and returned incumbent Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001.

The polls were widely criticised as chaotic and riven with irregularities. Kabila's inauguration was largely snubbed by the international community.

But results for the legislative ballot were only announced on February 1, giving Kabila's party and its allies control of parliament, albeit with a reduced majority.

Amid an opposition outcry and calls by Kinshasa's Western partners for greater transparency, the tallying process to split the almost 19,000 candidates vying for parliament's 500 seats was stop-and-go.

Tshisekedi, who has refused to concede defeat and proclaimed himself the people's president, ordered his party's MPs -- theoretically the second largest block in parliament -- to boycott the house's sessions.

DR Congo's Catholic church, which had the largest groups of observers on voting day with around 30,000 deployed across the country, has issued a damning report on the November 28 vote.

It said the polling and tallying had brought shame on the country -- citing ballot-stuffing and a general climate of fear -- and urged the electoral panel to resign.

The Roman Catholic Church is influential in DR Congo and one of the best organised forces in a mineral-rich country two-thirds the size of Western Europe but ranked the world's least developed state by the United Nations.

Date created : 2012-02-24

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