Election commission postpones release of initial results of presidential poll, raising fears of rigging and violence.

Preliminary results from Democratic Republic of Congo’s tumultuous presidential election will be delayed past Sunday’s deadline, the head of the election commission has said.

The announcement on Saturday has prompted fears the vote result could be manipulated, with analysts saying prolonged uncertainty could trigger deadly clashes, similar to the violence that broke out in the central African country after the 2006 and 2011 elections.

The commission, known as CENI, had received only 47 percent of vote tally sheets as of Saturday, its president, Corneille Nangaa, told the Reuters news agency.

It not yet clear when the results would be ready, he said, adding: “It will not be possible to announce the results tomorrow.”

Nangaa said the delay was caused by logistical problems posed by the DRC’s size, with the country encompassing an area approximately as large as Western Europe.

The country’s powerful National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), which represents the country’s Catholic bishops, warned popular anger could result in the event the final result was not “true to the verdict of the ballot box”.

DR Congo’s powerful Catholic Church, which deployed more than 40,000 election observers, had said Thursday it knew who had won the vote but did not name him as the country’s electoral regulations forbid anyone but the electoral commission to announce results.

In a letter to Nangaa on Saturday, CENCO president Mgr Marcel Utembi said that, given the delay, “if there is a popular uprising it would be the responsibility of the CENI”.

The December 30 vote saw 21 candidates run to replace President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the vast, conflict-ridden country for almost 18 years.

Among the frontrunners were Kabila’s handpicked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary and two opposition candidates: veteran heavyweight Felix Tshisekedi and newcomer Martin Fayulu.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s