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Registration for Congo Election to Begin in June


The electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has announced Friday that registration for some 28 million eligible voters will begin in June. Congo's elections were originally due by the end of that month but delays in restoring order to the country have made that impossible.

Congo's transition from years of war and chaos to peace and stability was due to end in June, with the holding of the country's first democratic elections in 40 years.

But the head of the electoral commission, Apollinaire Malu Malu, announced Friday that the process of registering voters would only begin in June. He said registration would take about three months and would not say when the polls would be held.

After a five-year war that drew in six neighboring countries and killed nearly four million people, most of the fighting in Congo has come to an end and the former belligerents are all now part of the same government.

But Congo still has a long way to go. The onetime enemies may now be in the same government, but there is little trust among them. In addition, violence remains common in the eastern part of the country. As a result, the peace process is a long way behind schedule. Analysts say elections will probably have to wait until next year.

Citing the lack of progress made in organizing elections and allegations of rampant corruption, opposition politicians who have remained outside the wieldy transitional government are demanding fresh negotiations and a role in the government.

The proposition is supported by many on Kinshasa's streets, who are languishing in poverty and growing increasingly restless at the lack of tangible benefits two years after the end of the war.

But it is likely to be resisted by those in the government and the international community that has invested enormous amounts of time and billions of dollars trying to secure and protect Congo's peace deals.

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