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Africa
DR Congo opposition makes election gains
Joseph Kabila's ruling party holds parliamentary majority but loses 40 per cent of seats in results from November vote.
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012 12:09
Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi's Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party won 41 seats [Reuters]

The Democratic Republic of Congo's ruling party and its allies won a reduced parliamentary majority in November elections, according to results released two months after the disputed polls.

The electoral commission announced the figures on Thursday, saying President Joseph Kabila's People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) and its allies captured an absolute majority of about 260 seats in the 500-seat National Assembly.

The opposition won about 110 seats, the results from the November 28 vote showed.

Despite the parliamentary majority, Kabila's party lost more than 40 per cent of its legislative seats to its rivals.

The outcome could weaken his rule in the central African state after his own presidential re-election was decried by the opposition as fraudulent, in polls which were also criticised by international observers.

National Assembly: 500 seats

-Kabila and allies: 260 seats

-Opposition: 110 seats

-Non-aligned parties: 113 seats

-Unfilled seats: 17 seats

"The results of these elections took a long time, but it was to ensure their overall transparency," said election commission chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda.

Kabila's PPRD party won 62 seats in the assembly, down from 111 after the previous legislative polls in 2006, Mulunda said.

Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi's Union for Democracy and Social
Progress (UDPS), which had boycotted the 2006 polls, followed with 41 seats. He has dismissed the legislative elections as "rubbish".

The Kabila-allied People for Peace et Democratie (PPPD) followed with 27 seats.

Seventeen seats in the assembly remain unfilled as the country's supreme court considers requests to have the results of those races thrown out over allegations of fraud or errors.

Mulunda said the court had two months to rule on those cases.

In total, almost 19,000 candidates vied at the polls for seats in the parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a vast central African country wrecked by two wars from 1997 to 2003. Eastern provinces are still conflict-ridden, partly over control of considerable mineral wealth.

Violent protests

Tensions have been high since the election, sparked violent protests and was widely criticised for major irregularities by international monitors. 

Kabila, who has been in power since January 2001, took nearly 49 per cent of the vote in the November 28 presidential vote that coincided with parliamentary elections.

 

Tshisekedi came second with 32 per cent, but said he was denied victory by massive fraud and declared himself president days after Kabila took the oath of office.

Kabila himself admitted there were electoral flaws, although he rejected claims that the polls lacked credibility.

Human Rights Watch says security forces have killed at least 24 people and "arbitrarily" arrested dozens since Kabila's disputed victory was announced on December 9.

The group said security forces fired on crowds to prevent protests against the result.

London-based rights group Amnesty International has also denounced what it said was a wave of political arrests, notably of opposition activists, since the elections.

Source:
Agencies
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