Democratic Republic of Congo opposition candidate Martin Fayulu is favored to win this weekend’s presidential election, according to new polling. However, polling stations are said to be ill-prepared for the pollling.
Opposition leaders have accused authorities of trying to rig the vote in favor of outgoing President Joseph Kabila’s preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, using electronic voting machines. But the government denied any plans to rig the election.
The election is expected to bring about the first democratic transition of power in mineral-rich Congo, but observers fear a chaotic election day could ignite new violence as seen after the 2006 and 2011 elections.
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Last week the election was pushed back to December 30 due to a lack of ballot papers in the capital Kinshasa but the national electoral commission (CENI) promised then that preparations would be complete by the new date.
But two days ahead of the ballot, only about 60 percent of election materials – including sheets to tabulate the vote – have been delivered to balloting stations across the country, three foreign diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Frustration has mounted across the vast, shakily governed Central African country after repeated election delays and blunders as well as a decision this week to shelve voting in several opposition strongholds, Reuters reported on Friday.
“Protests flared for a second straight day in eastern cities in response to the decision to cancel voting in Beni and Butembo in the east and Yumbi in the west,” Reuters said, adding that “demonstrators see it as a maneuver by the government to suppress the vote, rather than a precaution due to an Ebola outbreak and militia violence,” the news agency added.