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IN DRC, Run-Off Elections Set for October

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Joseph Kabila and Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba will face each other October 29th in the country’s run-off election. The Independent Electoral Commission announced the results late Sunday, giving President Kabila just under 45 percent of the vote and Mr. Bemba 20 percent. The remaining 31 presidential candidates are deciding what role, if any, they will play in the upcoming run-off. In the first round, Allafuele Mbuyi Kalala was a presidential candidate for the Rally for a New Society party. He tells VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty that the political realignment has already begun for the run-off election.

“I am part of a group of 19 candidates who signed a statement challenging the validity of the election. I think that we are going to consult between ourselves beginning probably today, Monday, to know what is next. My feeling is that we will accept the vote since it does not say that Joseph Kabila won in the first round of balloting. I think that most candidates are going to align themselves with one of the two front-runners, and my feeling is that the majority of them will align with Jean-Pierre Bemba.”

Kalala says most candidates will likely support Bemba for two reasons.

“The people of the Congo voted for Bemba not for and by himself but against Joseph Kabila, and most candidates are aware of that feeling, and the majority of them ran against Joseph Kabila because the motto was “Anything but Kabila.” I think it will be very difficult for them to change now and align themselves with Joseph Kabila and still maintain their credibility.”

Kalala says neither the other losing candidates nor the Congolese voters would support President Kabila just to avoid possible violence.

“There may be violence in either case, but we were already facing the possibility of a popular uprising if the results were that Joseph Kabila had won. That’s why I say that the majority of the candidates may choose to align themselves with the popular feeling which is that Joseph Kabila must go.”

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