Kabila leads election

Kabila leads election

KINSHASA – The Democratic Republic of Congo should know the winner this week of historic presidential elections, with incumbent Joseph Kabila expected to keep his job despite opposition allegations of fraud.

Two weeks after the vast central African country’s first multi-party presidential and legislative elections in 46 years, Kabila won 55 per cent of votes among the one-fifth of ballots to have been counted, according to an AFP count. His main rival, vice president and former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, has 17,8 per cent, followed by former central bank governor Pierre Pay-Pay with 2,2 percent.No figures were available from the capital, Kinshasa, where Kabila is not popular.Final nationwide results are due to be announced by August 20 at the latest.”It would appear difficult for Bemba to get in front of Kabila,” said one diplomat here, adding that the son of assassinated president Laurent Kabila could expect to benefit from a “huge reservoir” of uncounted votes.At just 35 years of age, Kabila is Africa’s youngest head of state and few thought he would survive his time in office following the violent turmoil of the country’s recent past and the murder of his father in 2001.But he has won over the Congolese and Western leaders and held together complex peace deals in the aftermath of DR Congo’s brutal 1998-2003 conflict, dubbed “Africa’s World War”.The war sucked in seven neighbours, claimed nearly four million lives and turned the country into a furnace of instability in the heart of the continent.The elections are the culmination of a three-year peace process which saw the deployment of thousands of international peacekeepers as well as a special European Union rapid reaction force to secure the vote itself.Official results are due to be announced on or before August 20..Nampa-AFPHis main rival, vice president and former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, has 17,8 per cent, followed by former central bank governor Pierre Pay-Pay with 2,2 percent.No figures were available from the capital, Kinshasa, where Kabila is not popular.Final nationwide results are due to be announced by August 20 at the latest.”It would appear difficult for Bemba to get in front of Kabila,” said one diplomat here, adding that the son of assassinated president Laurent Kabila could expect to benefit from a “huge reservoir” of uncounted votes.At just 35 years of age, Kabila is Africa’s youngest head of state and few thought he would survive his time in office following the violent turmoil of the country’s recent past and the murder of his father in 2001.But he has won over the Congolese and Western leaders and held together complex peace deals in the aftermath of DR Congo’s brutal 1998-2003 conflict, dubbed “Africa’s World War”.The war sucked in seven neighbours, claimed nearly four million lives and turned the country into a furnace of instability in the heart of the continent.The elections are the culmination of a three-year peace process which saw the deployment of thousands of international peacekeepers as well as a special European Union rapid reaction force to secure the vote itself.Official results are due to be announced on or before August 20..Nampa-AFP

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