Congo delays announcing results of presidential election

DR Congo election Results'may be delayed as ballots trickle

Preliminary election results are due by Sunday and definitive results by January 15

DR Congo's powerful Catholic Church, which deployed more than 40,000 observers to monitor the elections, on Thursday said it knew who had won the vote but did not reveal who it was.

The Catholic church in Congo is warning the country's electoral commission that publishing untrue results of the presidential election could lead to a popular "uprising".

"We call on the Ceni to publish, with all responsibility, the results of the election that respect truth and justice", he said.

The election to pick a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the country of 80 million people since his father was assassinated in 2001, should mark the first democratic transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat called Friday for the results of Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential vote to be respected, as tensions grow over delays in the counting process.

No Western election observers were invited to watch the vote, which was meant to occur in late 2016, after Congo's government was annoyed at worldwide pressure amid concerns that Kabila was trying to stay in power.

The publication of the provisional results of the general election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), initially expected to be announced on Sunday, has been postponed until next week, according to Corneille Nangaa, president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) of the country.

Kabila's hand-picked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary and Felix Tshisekedi, head of the opposition UDPS, have both claimed victory.

Worldwide community and human rights groups have warned of potential uprising should the actual results be manipulated.

Congo's electoral commission is not expected to announce results for several days.

The church deployed some 40,000 electoral observers in all polling centers, but Congolese regulations say only the electoral commission can announce election results.

The U.S. has also threatened sanctions against those who undermine the democratic process in the election, according to The Associated Press. Ahead of the vote, the US ordered non-emergency government employees and family members to leave the country.

In response, the electoral commission accused the Church on Friday of "preparing an insurrection" by declaring that it knew the victor of the election.

At stake is a vast country rich in the minerals that power the world's mobile phones and laptops, yet desperately underdeveloped.

The December 30 vote saw 21 candidates run to replace President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the vast, conflict-ridden country for nearly 18 years. "The election allowed the majority of the Congolese population to exercise its right to vote", the SADC mission said in a statement on January 2. The U.S. has urged the government to restore internet service, and a United Nations human rights spokeswoman has warned that "these efforts to silence dissent could backfire considerably when the results are announced".

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