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DR Congo: Technical problems plague electoral process

In this photo taken March 15, 2018, a view of an electronic voting machine that will be used for the next electionin Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.   -  
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John Bompengo/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Just two weeks ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in addition to the war in the nation's east obstacles hinder the electoral process.

On Wednesday, many voters in Kinshasa rushed to replace illegible voter cards.

Voters registered for the December 20 election between December last year and March.

"I came here at 9:30 so I could get a new voter card because the old one became illegible and everything disappeared, the writings like the photo, so I can’t vote with a card like that, so I need a new one," agronomist Grégoire-Dieudonné said.

In the DRC, the voter-registration card acts as the ID. But since their issue, an unidentified number of these have faded almost clean.

Those who don't have a card could use a passport but they are too costly for most people.

Some 44 million registered voters out of a population of around 100 million will be called upon to elect their president, as well as choosing from over 100 thousand candidates for the legislative provincial and municipal elections.

A record, according to the Electoral Commission, which is determined to organize the elections on time, despite logistical difficulties in the country of 2.3 million squared km.

"I was so worried, I didn’t even think there would be an election given the context but when I came here, I understood that election will be held, I am relieved."

"I have seen the lists of voters on display, it is a big step ahead and it shows that there is already gravitas a few days before the elections. "

The cards are supposed to be delivered free of charge, but there are widespread reports of agents demanding bribes for replacements.

President Tshisekedi who is vying for re-election against some 20 candidates deplored the practice last month.

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