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Calls to annul elections in DRC amid allegations of irregularities

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Democratic Republic Of Congo

In a press conference held in Kinshasa, representatives from various civil society organizations and presidential candidates are urging the annulment of the December 20, 2023 elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Mino Bopomi, coordinator of the Filimbi citizens' movement, read out a joint statement declaring, "The December 20, 2023 elections must be canceled in view of the serious irregularities."

The controversy surrounding the elections is underscored by allegations made by Mino Bopomi, who accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) of intentionally extending voting days in violation of electoral law. According to Bopomi, this extension, in conjunction with the inaccessible Carlabella website, raises concerns about potential widespread fraud. Bopomi suggests that the extended voting period, particularly during the night, might be exploited to manipulate ballot boxes in favor of a specific presidential candidate.

Paul Diakese, the spokesperson for Moïse Katumbi's political party, Ensemble pour la République (Together for the Republic), also voiced rejection of the election results. Diakese stated that the results are perceived as a product of a well-organized fraudulent process, undermining the voice of the sovereign people.

The opposition, including Martin Fayulu and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege, had initially planned a demonstration to protest the alleged irregularities. However, the government of the DRC, represented by Minister of the Interior Peter Kazadi, declared the protest as illegal, asserting that it aims to disrupt the electoral process.

In a joint statement, the opposition leaders described the elections as a a sham, expressing their intent to protest against the observed irregularities during the voting operations.

Despite the government's prohibition, opposition leaders and representatives of civil society organizations have affirmed their commitment to the planned demonstration on Wednesday. Mino Bopomi of the Filimbi citizens' movement emphasized the peaceful nature of the march, opposing any attempt to intimidate or traumatize the population.

The electoral process has been marred by logistical challenges, leading to an official extension of the quadruple election by one day. The voting continued until Christmas in some remote areas. Preliminary results from the presidential election, released by the Electoral Commission, place the incumbent president, Félix Tshisekedi, at a significant lead with 77.34% of approximately 4.4 million counted votes.

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