Congo-Kinshasa: Early Election Results Released to Dispel Rumours in Strife-Torn DR Congo - UN

Preliminary election results released over the weekend in the strife-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) aim to stem the flow of rumours that final results are already in, the United Nations reported today.

The DRC's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) released results from 12 of 169 constituencies that voted in the recent presidential run-off, and stressed that final results are only expected by 19 November, the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) said in a statement today, calling the situation in the country "tense but calm."

Those early results, showing President Joseph Kabila leading over his Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, were released to reinforce the IEC's goal of quelling fraudulent reports, including one posted on the Internet last week that claimed to contain official final figures.

With the final tally expected in the coming 13 days, the IEC said it will continue to release preliminary results from additional polling stations on its web site, www.cei-rdc.cd.

Meanwhile, MONUC said that over the weekend four African statesmen visited Kinshasa, the DRC's capital, to meet with presidential candidates and members of the international community as part of ongoing efforts to appease the situation ahead of the final election results. The group of former heads of State are Nigeria's Abdulsalami Abubakar, Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, and Sam Nujoma of Namibia.

Throughout the long election process, the largest and most complex the UN has ever been involved in, UN agencies have helped to deliver tens of millions of ballots and other supplies to some 50,000 polling stations, train 12,000 polling supervisors and plan for the safety of the 25.7 million Congolese registered to vote in the country's first democratic election in 40 years.

In the first election round in July, Mr. Kabila received 44.8 per cent of the vote to Mr. Bemba's 20 per cent, prompting a call for last month's run-off.

MONUC currently has over 18,000 uniformed personnel in the DRC to help the country rebuild after a six-year conflict ending in 1999. The conflict cost 4 million lives through fighting, hunger and disease, widely considered the most lethal fighting in the world since World War II, and factional violence has continued since then, particularly in the eastern provinces.

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