February 2, 2012 / 5:18 AM / in 7 years

Kabila's party loses seats in Congo parliament

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo’s ruling party has lost more than 40 percent of its legislative seats to rivals, election results released on Thursday showed, an outcome that will complicate President Joseph Kabila’s task of forming a majority coalition.

A supporter of President Joseph Kabila is seen at the party's headquarters in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, December 1, 2011. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun

Kabila’s rule in the central African state has already been weakened after his own re-election in the November 28 poll was decried by the opposition as fraudulent and broadly criticised by international observers.

“With more than 80 parties in parliament, it will not be easy to manage,” said Philippe Biyoya, a professor of politics at the University of Kinshasa.

“Everyone will want their seat in government. The future government will be even more heterogeneous than the one that came from the elections in 2006. A heterogeneous coalition means weak government.”

Kabila’s PPRD party won 63 seats in the 500-seat National Assembly, down from 111 after the previous legislative polls in 2006. Chief rival Etienne Tshisekedi’s UDPS party came second with 41 seats, but the veteran opposition leader has rejected the poll and called for a boycott of parliament and other institutions.

The Kabila-allied PPPD came third with 27 seats.

“The results of these elections took a long time, but it was to ensure their overall transparency,” said election commission chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda.

TENSIONS HIGH

Some 17 seats in the assembly remain unfilled as Congo’s Supreme Court considers requests to have the results of those races thrown out over allegations of fraud or errors. Mulunda said the court had two months to rule on those cases.

“Fraud corrupted everything. For us, the results of the presidential and legislative elections are the same,” Serge Mayamba, UDPS’s national secretary, told Reuters.

Tensions have been high in Congo since the election which pitted Kabila against main challenger Tshisekedi and several other candidates. Tshisekedi has declared himself president but so far been unable to mobilise large scale protests.

Kabila has been in power since a 2006 vote that drew a line under years of war and chaos, but progress in developing the mineral-rich giant has been slow and critics say corruption remains rampant.

Human Rights Watch has said at least 24 people have been killed by security forces since the first results from the November poll were announced.

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