RD Congo KINSHASA: Voting in the election to replace President Joseph Kabila, who is due to step down next month after 18 years in power, continued into the evening in some Kinshasa neighbourhoods where polling had opened hours late due to an absence of voter rolls.
In other areas, election officials began counting ballots by torchlight, keeping count on classroom chalkboards. The first partial results are expected within the next two days.
While voting was mostly peaceful across Democratic Republic of Congo, there were incidents of violence.
At a polling station in South Kivu province in eastern Congo, a police officer shot dead a young man after a dispute over alleged voting fraud. The surrounding crowd then beat the officer to death, a witness and a local politician said.
Meanwhile Tshisekedi, one of his biggest rivals and the head of a veteran opposition party, UDPS, predicted: “Victory is ours.”
However, opinion polls make Martin Fayulu — until recently a little-known legislator and former oil executive — the clear favourite.
He has garnered around 44 percent of voting intentions, followed by Tshisekedi with 24 percent and Shadary with 18 percent, said Jason Stearns of the Congo Research Group, based at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.
If the elections are “free and fair,” an opposition candidate will almost certainly win. However, “the potential for violence is extremely high,” he warned.
Roughly half of respondents said they would reject the result if Shadary — a hardline former interior minister who is facing EU sanctions for a crackdown on protesters — was declared winner.