Congo election panel announces run-off in presidential race amidst fraud complaints

Congo election panel announces run-off in presidential race amidst fraud complaints

[JURIST] The Congolese Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) [official website, in French], charged with overseeing the July presidential election [AP report; tallied results] in the Democratic Republic of Congo, released the provisional results of the election on Monday, and announced that a run-off between President Joseph Kabila [BBC profile], who won 45 percent of the vote, and Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba [Wikipedia profile], who won 20 percent, is scheduled for October 29. A spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan released a statement [text] welcoming the results and instructing political parties to respect the provisional results and to use the legal process rather than violence to protest the outcome. An IEC spokesperson said that with the provisional votes now official, parties may submit voting fraud complaints to the Supreme Court of Congo.

Earlier in August, Congo authorities arrested six people for ballot fraud [JURIST report] after an opposition group alleged widespread irregularities [JURIST report]. Other minor candidates have complained that the international community has failed to react to "massive irregularities" during the election. Several international election watchdogs who were present for the July elections said they observed little or no fraudulent vote activity that would affect the outcome of the elections. AP has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.

2:27 PM ET – AP is reporting that gunfire erupted at the home of presidential candidate Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, and a UN spokesperson announced that 150 UN troops in 20 armored trucks were deployed to Bemba's house to remove the presidential candidate and other foreign officials to a safe area. At the time the shooting began, Bemba was holding a meeting with several foreign ambassadors. AP has more.