UN Security Council beams searchlight on Congo election

                              An opposition supporter holds up a reading 'Long live the opposition' during a rally organised by political opposition parties in Kinshasa

The UN Security Council is keeping close watch on vote counting in the presidential election in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), following controversies surrounding the poll.

France Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre disclosed this on Friday at the UN headquarters after a closed-door council meeting summoned by France.

The council didn’t issue any joint statement, at least for now. It’s due to discuss Congo again in a public session on Tuesday.

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Delattre said Friday’s private meeting underscored that members are paying attention to the election for a successor to longtime President Joseph Kabila.

The vote could mark Congo’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. The first results are due Sunday.

Echoing remarks made by the African Union, Delattre said the results must reflect the people’s vote.

Observers reported irregularities amid the balloting.

Meanwhile, Congo’s election commission is scolding the Catholic church for saying its data show a clear winner in Sunday’s presidential election, asserting that the announcement could incite an “uprising.”

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The church, a powerful voice in the heavily Catholic nation, on Thursday called on the electoral commission to publish the true results in “respect of truth and justice.”

The church deployed some 40,000 electoral observers. It cannot say publicly who the clear winner appears to be, as Congo’s electoral regulations forbid anyone but the electoral commission to announce results.

Congo’s ruling party on Friday called the church’s attitude “irresponsible and anarchist.”

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International pressure is growing on Congo to restore internet service and release accurate election results, while some Congolese express doubt that the first results will be released on Sunday as expected.

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