DRC polls: 44m Congolese vote today
Voting has started in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s general elections, with President Félix Tshisekedi seeking another term amid a divided opposition and a politically and security-charged environment.
The first voter cast their ballot at 6:09 AM in Kisangani, the eastern part of the country, which began voting before the west due to the time difference. The polling stations are scheduled to be open from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM local time. Some voters expressed frustration over delayed openings at certain polling stations.
However, the Electoral Commission assured that if voters are still in line at closing time, the polling stations will remain open until they can vote. Wednesday has been declared a public holiday, and borders are closed, with domestic flights suspended for the day.
Approximately 44 million registered voters have the opportunity to elect their president, national and provincial deputies, and municipal councilors. This election also allows Congolese in the diaspora to vote in five countries.
There are over 100,000 candidates across the four elections, and the President of the Electoral Commission stated that transparency will be a priority with real-time monitoring of the results. Several observer missions are deployed, with the Catholic and Protestant churches leading the largest mission. They have promised a “parallel vote count” for the presidential election. President Tshisekedi is running for a second term against 18 other candidates, including Moïse Katumbi and Martin Fayulu.
Opposition parties have expressed concerns about transparency and potential fraud. Some voters believe that there may be issues once the results are announced.
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