DRC election: Polls open in long-delayed vote | DR Congo News

Polling stations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo‘s (DRC’s) long-delayed election have opened, two years after they were first scheduled to be held.

Voting stations opened at 5am (04:00 GMT) on Sunday and will close at 5pm (16:00 GMT).

There were small queues of voters in the capital, Kinshasa, as voting centres opened, because of heavy rain.

More than 46 million Congolese have registered to elect the successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the central African country for 17 years.

As many as 21 candidates are competing to succeed Kabila, who came to power following the assassination of his father in 2001.

In Kinshasa, 20 percent of the polling stations did not open due to a lack of voting machines.

Earlier this month, one of the electoral commission’s main warehouses in the city was burned down, destroying more than two-thirds of the voting machines allocated for the city.

The capital is home to four million voters, about 15 percent of the country’s electorate.

Voting is not taking place in at least three cities. Last Wednesday, the electoral commission (CENI) said it postponed the presidential and parliamentary polls in the three cities because of concerns over Ebola outbreak and ethnic violence.

Voting in Beni and Betumbo in the eastern North Kivu province has been delayed until March next year, due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak which has killed more than 330 people.

Voting in the western city of Yumbi in Bandundu province will also take place in March next year owing to ethnic violence that claimed the lives of at least 100 people this month.

The electoral commission said official results of the presidential poll will be announced on January 15.

The DRC, a country of more than 80 million people, has not seen a peaceful transition of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

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