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Eastern Congo braces for election results

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Jerome Delay/AP

(Read caption) Supporters of Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi hurl stones at Congolese riot police outside their candidate's headquarters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Thursday. Congo is tense as its people await the outcome of last week's disputed election, with partial results making victory all but certain for incumbent Joseph Kabila. The police officers standing at rear are part of the 25-man police force deployed to protect the candidate.

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UPDATE: On Dec. 6, the Associated Press reported that Congo's national electoral commission has announced a 48-hour delay in publishing final presidential election results, due to technical difficulties. Final results are expected on Thursday night.

With the announcement of Congo’s next president expected before midnight tonight, though possibly delayed, the restive eastern part of the country is quiet but wary about what tomorrow might bring. Early vote tallies predicted President Joseph Kabila as the winner, with UDPS candidate Etienne Tshisekedi as a close second, but the electoral commission today announced that with more than two-thirds of the ballots counted, Kabila had pulled ahead with 46 percent of the vote, to Tshisekedi’s 36 percent. Despite widespread allegations of rigging and logistical constraints that denied many eligible citizens the right to vote, international observation missions have blessed the process. The stage seems set for Kabila to be declared winner of another five-year term.

According to the preliminary count by the national electoral commission, tallied by province, Kabila is leading in both North and South Kivu but doesn’t carry a majority in either province. But unlike in other parts of the country, a Kabila victory will likely cause greater calm in the East than any other electoral outcome.

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