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  • A man reviews voting materials at a tallying center in Kinshasa, Congo, Jan. 3, 2019.

    A man reviews voting materials at a tallying center in Kinshasa, Congo, Jan. 3, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 January 2019

The presentation of the results of the Congolese elections could be postponed due to technical difficulties.

More than 39 million people voted in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Dec. 31 to elect a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power for 17 years.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) reported Thursday that only 20 percent of the votes have been counted, so far.  The announcement cuts close to the body's Jan. 6 deadline to publish the provisional results, which requires validation by the Constitutional Court.

Corneille Nangaa, CENI's president, suggested the possibility of postponing the publication of provisional results due to a delay in vote counting.

Nangaa's announcement was made at a meeting attended by the head of the African Union's observation mission, former Malian President Dioncoundra Traore, and opposition candidates Felix Tshisekedi (Coalition on the Road to Change) and Martin Fayulu (Lamuka Coalition).

"We do not sleep. We do our best to publish the results on Jan. 6. But if we do not succeed, we can not ask for the impossible," Nangaa said, adding that "we thought we could transmit results from voting machines to help us quickly publish the data."

However, up to this time, the machines are offline and results are being collected manually. The counting method is proving to be difficult, due to DR Congo's troublesome road infrastructure that hinders the quick delivery of ballot papers and ballots to the counting centers.

In addition to that, Catholic church-based voting centers reported that some 38 percent of polling stations were missing integral materials at the beginning of election day process.

The clergy observers also highlighted that some ballot boxes were not sealed and that several polling stations did not properly verify voters' identities.

The proclamation of the final results of DR Congo's presidential election is expected to take place on Jan. 15 and the new president will be sworn in on Jan. 18.

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