DRC Elections: Diaspora votes show lead for President Tshisekedi, as observers note local irregularities


DRC – Electoral authorities on Friday announced the results of voting by diaspora Congolese in South Africa, the United States, Canada, Belgium and France ahead of the release of the full outcome on Saturday.

The votes, which represented a small proportion of the electorate, showed President Felix Tshisekedi with a sizable lead over his opposition rivals, according to a report by Aljezeera.

Voters also cast their ballots to choose the next crop of national and regional lawmakers, and local councillors.

It was reported that some polling stations failed to open to the public and some voters could not find their names on registers.

The unscheduled extension prompted fierce pushback from opposition candidates, some of whom labelled the move unconstitutional and called for a new election.

Tshisekedi was considered the frontrunner going into the election, in which he faced a divided opposition that included Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege and business magnate and former provincial governor Moise Katumbi.

Independent observers allegedly raised concerns about the vote, with the US-based Carter Center describing “serious irregularities” at 21 out of 109 polling stations it visited and noting “a lack of confidence in the process”.

Denis Kadima, the head of the country’s electoral commission, on Friday rejected criticism that the extended vote lacked credibility.

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