Results of DR Congo presidential election start to trickle

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Initial results of the ongoing presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo have started to trickle amid accusations that the election was rigged.

According to the Friday results, coming from the votes of a few thousand Congolese living overseas, the incumbent president Felix Tshisekedi is taking a comfortable lead.

His main challengers are wealthy businessman Moise Katumbi, opposition leader Martin Fayulu and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege.

The results cast within the country by its 44 million voters will be released from Saturday.

When voters went to the polls on Wednesday, many polling stations suffered from logistic problems to keep the electoral process going. Some polling stations started late in the day with long lines waiting.

As the DR Congo is a large country with a poor road network, the electoral commission faced many challenges in organizing this poll, and the biggest one was getting electoral materials to thousands of polling stations in remote areas.

Even in the capital, Kinshasa, voting machines and ballot papers turned up late, delaying the electoral process.

Denis Kadima, president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), announced on Wednesday evening that polling for the general elections would continue on Thursday.

After long delays, the 44 million voters in the country eventually cast their vote in many polling stations across the country.

The delay has raised fears among some of the opposition candidates that many people will not be able to cast their ballot before the polls close.

Many voters expressed their frustration over the electoral commission’s failure to get electoral materials ready, while some others accused the electoral commission of trying to rig the elections.

The electoral commission denied the accusation and said that it had extended the elections to allow all eligible voters to access the polls.

Foreign election observers from the Carter Center, a non-governmental organization that helps to advance democracy, are calling for more transparency as vote counting continues.

“There are issues that certainly we will be making recommendations about and we have been making recommendations about. It is to increase transparency, to increase openness to all of the stakeholders and to the public and to give that information. And I think a key example of that would be there were problems on election day but CENI has not officially said, for instance, how many polling stations opened late, how many polling stations didn’t open on December 20, as far as I’ve seen,” said Jonathan Stonestreet, Associate Director of Democracy Program, Carter Center.

Some opposition candidates have called for a rerun.

According to the official electoral calendar, provisional results are expected on December 31, and the president-elect will be sworn in on Jan 20 next year.