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08 Jan 2012 19:27
A rights group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) called on Sunday for new elections after November’s controversial legislative and presidential polls.
In a report on the election, Voice of the Voiceless (Voix des sans Voix, VSV) said the fresh elections should be held after a reasonable delay—but well before the end of the five-year mandate President Joseph Kabila claimed he had won.
The November 28 vote, which gave President Joseph Kabila five more years in power, sparked violent protests and was widely criticised for major irregularities by international monitors and the country’s powerful church.
Kabila himself, while conceding there had been flaws, rejected claims that the polls lacked credibility.
His main rival, veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, declared himself president in December, just days after Kabila took the oath of office.
The report by VSV called for the two sides to resume dialogue so the country could be run during the preparation of new, transparent elections.
“If the political players act in good faith, a reasonable delay could be six months, or perhaps a year ... ” but not the five-year mandate Kabila said he had won, it added.
The fresh elections should be internationally supervised, it added.
Experts from the National Democratic Institute and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (CENI) arrived in the country last week to look at the feasibility of reviewing the election results.
VSV, which deployed 261 observers in six provinces of the country, said there had been deliberate fraud during the election.
That echoed the conclusions of international observers such as the Carter Center, a non-profit group founded by former US president Jimmy Carter.—AFP
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