Dec 1 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo has held its second postwar vote, with counting under way after a polling day that saw millions line up to cast their ballot amid widespread disorganisation and some outbreaks of violence.
The following factors are worth watching as events unfold.
Congo’s election commission defied sceptics to hold a Nov. 28 election mostly on time, and the long count is under way.
Although voting was extended in a number of areas where there had been delays, the first stage of tallying polls at a local level has mostly been completed.
The results should by now have been posted outside each of the polling stations across the country - over 60,000 in all. Local party representatives and observers should also have a copy of the individual results.
Tallies are currently being ferried to over 650 local compilation centres, before they are passed on to the election commission’s headquarters in Kinshasa.
The poll body is due to announce provisional results for the presidential vote by Dec. 6, exactly five years after President Joseph Kabila was sworn following the last poll. As counting for the parliamentary poll will take longer, provisional results for that are not due until Jan. 13.
The election commission is made up of three members of the opposition and three members of the ruling party, and headed by Daniel Mulunda Ngoy, a Methodist minister.
Congo’s opposition parties say Mulunda has badly organised the process and has been biased in favour of Kabila throughout. They say that as a co-founder of the president’s PPRD party he has close links with those in power and would be reluctant to announce his defeat. He strongly denies bias.
Once the provisional results have been announced, they will be sent to the Supreme Court, whose must deal with challenges. Although three candidates have called verbally for the poll to be cancelled, no formal complaint has been lodged yet.
The court must then deliver a final ruling on the results from the presidential election by Dec 17.
Again, highlighting opposition distrust in the process, Kabila’s rivals have accused the body of being biased as they say the president has indirectly appointed its members.
In pre-election reports, international observer missions expressed concerns over the body’s transparency. The EU observer mission also questioned the body’s independence as it said 18 new judges had been nominated during the election campaign.
Constitutional changes pushed through parliament earlier this year scrapped the need for a second round if no candidate scores over 50 percent in the first round.
This was explained by the need to save money but was seen by Kabila rivals as a move aimed at aiding his re-election. The opposition’s inability to unite around a single candidate also boosted his chances.
Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi has a strong following in the capital and the southern Kasaian provinces, and can draw people onto the streets in large numbers. Tshisekedi has said he will accept defeat if the poll is well organised but warned that people would “take matters into their own hands” if it was judged dishonest.
Kabila has also said he would accept defeat but some analysts question whether members of the armed forces or his inner circle are ready to release their grip on power. (Created by David Lewis and Jonny Hogg)