Logistics hurdles could force Congo polls delay

Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:15pm GMT

* Congo polls scheduled for Nov. 28

* Serious threats to holding the elections - Carter Centre

* Voting materials, ballot papers still to be shipped to Congo

By Jonny Hogg

KINSHASA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Delays in drawing up the voter register and delivering electoral materials are posing a serious threat to the Democratic Republic of Congo's second post-war polls, due in November, with some saying the elections may be postponed.

The polls are seen as a crucial step towards stabilising the vast minerals-rich country, which is still recovering from a vicious civil war that ended in 2003 with more than 5 million people dead.

The electoral commission and its partners, including the United Nations, say the November 28 date is still achievable despite growing skepticism in diplomatic and political circles.

Any delay risks sparking a political crisis, with a leading opposition party saying it will no longer recognise the government of Joseph Kabila if the polls are put back.

More than 120,000 ballot boxes are still to be delivered from China, and the printing of thousands of tonnes of ballot papers in South Africa is only just getting under way according to the electoral commission.   Continued...

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