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Congo Electoral Board Acted Illegally, Says Opposition Official

Election volunteers tabulate results at the Fikin compilation center in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo's influential clergy say they are concerned about violence and unrest two days before the proclamation of results from a contested presid

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a top advisor of main opposition challenger Etienne Tshisekedi says the Independent National Electoral Commission, CENI, has violated the electoral code by releasing “illegal” presidential results.

Albert Moleka, the cabinet director of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party and spokesman for Mr. Tshisekedi, insists that the electoral chief has been releasing unsubstantiated preliminary results that he said are “gross violations” to established rules and regulations.

The electoral code stipulates that the commission only publish provisional results with from polling stations that have been verified with signatures from participating political parties and the presiding electoral officials.

“Up to now, Mr. Mulunda [electoral chief] hasn’t done that. He appears on TV with figures no one can trace,” said Moleka. “We insist again, on the will of all Congolese who want transparent and [the] credibility of these results. An example is that North Kivu results have 20 percent more voters than people that were registered.”

Analysts say with almost 90 percent of preliminary data released so far, incumbent President Joseph Kabila appears to have won another five year term in office with about half the vote. Main challenger Etienne Tshisekedi trails with 33 percent.

CENI is scheduled to release the final tally today following a 48-hour delay.

Reports from the capital, Kinshasa, say about 20,000 government forces have been deployed to prevent possible conflict after the announcement.

Many Congolese have expressed concern about possible violence if the opposition refuses to accept the vote outcome and begin nationwide protests.

Some opposition supporters have also reportedly threatened to attack UN peacekeeping forces if the final results are rigged or skewed in Mr. Kabila’s favor.

“If the electoral commission allows [violence] that means they did not respect the commitment they made to the population, and to their partners, to abide by the law to present the results,” said Moleka.

He also said Congolese will not allow CENI to flout the electoral code by tampering with the final outcome of the presidential vote.