EU calls for calm after DRC poll violence

2011-11-30 16:26
Brussels - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called for calm in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday and urged politicians to respect the electoral process after polls marred by violence.

Ashton "regrets the violence that left several victims as well as the particularly sharp tensions in certain areas", her office said in a statement.

"She calls on the Congolese people to remain calm during the vote count and the announcement of results," it said.

"She also calls on all political forces to respect the rules of the electoral process and present any challenges through legal channels."

The EU's observer mission will issue its preliminary assessment on the election "in the coming days".

Monday's presidential election pitted incumbent Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, against 10 challengers.

Four of them on Tuesday demanded the annulment of the vote, alleging fraud by Kabila and condemning a host of flaws at polling stations, from the exclusion of opposition party monitors to the failure of many to open.

Domestic and international election observers cited ballot box stuffing, undelivered ballot papers and millions of voters turned away from polling stations.

Preliminary results in the presidential race are not expected until December 06, and the parliamentary outcome until January 13, leaving the country with a tense wait after a chaotic election during which at least 10 people died.

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