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DRC Faces Election Day Amidst Armed Conflicts and Socioeconomic Struggles

Un agent électoral de la Commission électorale nationale indépendante cherche le nom d'un électeur sur une liste, dans un bureau de vote à Lubumbashi, le 20 décembre 2023.   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

Voters participating in the elections in Goma, an eastern city of the Democratic Republic of Congo nearly encircled by M23 rebels, are seeking leaders capable of ensuring security and stability for the country.

The residents of the conflict torn city voted as best as they could on Wednesday in a high-risk election in which the incumbent president, Félix Tshisekedi, is standing for re-election in the face of many socioeconomic challenges.

"After voting we are waiting for peace, for the war to end and for peace to return," says Claude Lola Henri, Congolese voter.

The elections are taking place in a country rich in natural resources, but where two-thirds of the population live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. And many of the country's young people, 60% of whom are under 20, are unemployed.

"I'm afraid of the drawbacks, maybe (there could be) war because not everyone has voted, whereas if everyone has their choice, it should be fine," shared Pitié Mumbara, Congolese voter.

Casting his ballot, opponent Denis Mukwege is hopeful despite the situation.

"From these polls, the population expects change. We hope that change will come," said Dr. Denis Mukwege. 

Suspicions of fraud led to incidents at several polling sites, with ransacking and violence against national electoral commission agents.

Opponents also denounced chaos and irregularities at the polling stations.

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