Daily News  :: Central Africa

Bemba to 'legally' contest DRC election

Published: 17-NOV-06

Kinshasa � Vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba rejected presidential election results that saw him defeated by Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and said he would "use all legal channels" to contest them.

"I cannot accept these results, which are far from reflecting the truth of the ballot box," Bemba said. "I make a commitment to use all legal channels to see the will of the people respected."

The Independent Electoral Commission late on Wednesday announced that Kabila had "been elected president" with 58.05 percent of the second-round votes on October 29, compared with 41.95 percent for Bemba, but candidates were entitled to contest the outcome before the Supreme Court.

Bemba said he had "learned like everybody else, on the airwaves, of the outcome of the second round of the presidential election published by the CEI" during a television broadcast from a luxury Kinshasa hotel.

"My surprise was great that the CEI did not, as arranged, notify the candidates of the results, thus enabling them to react within 48 hours," Bemba added, referring to an agreement reached by both sides and the commission to give the rivals time to contest possible "material errors" in the figures.

"I want to recall, before national and international opinion, that these elections have been the object of several objections, including six requests I myself sent to the CEI."

The former rebel leader said one of his complaints "concerned the number of 1 481 291 people who voted outside their own constituencies and who constitute about 10 percent of the ballots cast". Sapa-AFP

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