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Early Congo Election Results Show President Ahead


Early results from the Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election show President Joseph Kabila leading his main challenger and vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba.

With about 10 percent of the votes counted nationally, Mr. Kabila leads 46 to 24 percent. The president has been winning big in his native eastern part the country, while Bemba is leading in his home area of the west.

Vote counting has been hampered by Congo's poor transportation system and other logistical problems. The country's Independent Electoral Commission is expected to release a preliminary nationwide tally by August 20.

More than 30 candidates are on the presidential ballot. A run-off between the top two finishers will be held in late October if no one wins more than 50 percent of the vote.

The July 30 polls for parliament and president were Congo's first multi-party elections in more than 40 years.

The international community hopes the elections will usher in a new era of democracy in Congo after decades of dictatorships and wars.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.