New Telegraph

Voting Begins In DR Congo Amid Insecurity, Fears

From a pool of 19 candidates, almost 44 million Congolese will have the chance to choose the next president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

However, voters endured lengthy queues at numerous polling stations in the capital, Kinshasa, and other cities, with the polling stations opening approximately two hours behind schedule.

Meanwhile, ballot papers were delivered at the last minute in an election that has proved to be a logistical nightmare.

In addition to choosing the next president, voters are also electing parliamentary, provincial, and municipal representatives, with a total of around 100,000 candidates participating.

To facilitate the distribution of voting materials to over 175,000 polling booths, the electoral commission sought the help of UN peacekeepers.

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The lead-up to the polls in the eastern regions was overshadowed by concerns of insecurity. Numerous armed groups are vying for control in different parts of the region.

Despite the presence of a UN peacekeeping force, an East African regional force, and Congolese soldiers, the violence continues, leading to the displacement of about seven million people from their homes. Many of the displaced people faced challenges in registering to vote, sparking criticism of the registration process.

Over 13,000 Congolese nationals in South Africa, France, United States, Canada and Belgium are also expected to vote first for the country.

The electoral commission is expected to announce provisional results on December 31.

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