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Wednesday February 19th, 2020 11:09PM

The Latest: Congo begins announcing results of election

By The Associated Press
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KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The Latest on Congo's presidential election (all times local):

2 a.m.

Congo's electoral commission has begun announcing election results — starting with the names of hundreds of people who won provincial deputy seats.

The already delayed process could take hours before reaching the results of the presidential election.

Residents of the capital, Kinshasa, are still watching the live broadcast on state television long after midnight.

The vast country voted on Dec. 30 for a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled since 2001. The opposition and activist groups have warned of protests if the results do not match "the truth of the ballot boxes."

___

12:10 a.m.

Congo has marked midnight as the country waits for the delayed announcement of the results of the presidential election.

State television shows a noisy room where the electoral commission had been expected to make an announcement an hour ago.

Congolese activist groups have urged people to "be ready to massively take to the streets" if the commission does not publish results in accordance with "the truth of the ballot boxes."

Congo on Dec. 30 voted for a successor to departing President Joseph Kabila. The delay in announcing results has led some Congolese to suspect possible manipulation in favor of the ruling party.

___

5:45 p.m.

The United States is giving its citizens in Congo succinct advice: "Depart the country."

A new U.S. Embassy security alert says Congo's electoral commission is soon expected to announce results of the presidential election. It warns of possible crowds gathering to hear the results.

Congolese activist groups have urged people to "be ready to massively take to the streets" if the commission does not publish results in accordance with "the truth of the ballot boxes."

Congo on Dec. 30 voted for a successor to departing President Joseph Kabila. The delay in announcing results has led some Congolese to suspect possible manipulation in favor of the ruling party.

___

5:10 p.m.

Congo's electoral commission says "everything is ready" for provisional results of the presidential election to be announced today.

Spokeswoman Marie-France Idikayi tells The Associated Press that "we are waiting for the final deliberations of the electoral commission plenary session to end but the announcement room is prepared."

State television is in place to broadcast the results. Anti-riot police with water cannon are outside the building.

Congo on Dec. 30 voted for a successor to departing President Joseph Kabila. Congolese activist groups are urging people to "be ready to massively take to the streets" if the commission does not publish results in accordance with "the truth of the ballot boxes."

___

3 p.m.

Congolese activist groups are urging people to "be ready to massively take to the streets" if the electoral commission does not publish presidential election results in accordance with "the truth of the ballot boxes."

A statement by more than 300 organizations also alleges that electoral commission president Corneille Nangaa has been instructed by President Joseph Kabila's government to publish results from electronic transmission instead of from manual counting.

Carbone Beni with the Filimbi movement asserts that the manual court shows that the ruling party's candidate did not win.

Nangaa has blamed the delay in announcing results on the opposition's insistence on manual counting. Congo's first use of electronic voting machines in the Dec. 30 election led to widespread concern that they could be used to manipulate results.

___

2:15 p.m.

The presidents of South Africa and Zambia are urging Congo's electoral commission to "speedily" complete vote-counting and announce the delayed results of the Dec. 30 presidential election.

The statement released by South Africa's foreign ministry reflects pressure on Congo by regional powers who don't want to see the vast Central African nation return to widespread violence.

The statement says South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zambian President Edgar Lungu warn that the delay in releasing results "can lead to suspicions and compromise peace and stability of the country."

Congo's electoral commission is meeting to discuss the results and could announce them as early as Wednesday. Anti-riot police are positioned outside.

Congo's government has rejected Western pressure over the long-delayed election, calling it interference.

___

11:55 a.m.

Anti-riot police with water cannon and armored vehicles are outside Congo's electoral commission ahead of the announcement of the first results of the presidential election.

Residents of the capital, Kinshasa, say the heavy security presence is a bad sign.

Resident John Kabamba says it "may be a message that the publication (of the results) won't meet the expectations of the Congolese people."

The first results could be announced as early as Wednesday.

Congo on Dec. 30 voted for a successor to departing President Joseph Kabila. He backs ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who is under European Union sanctions.

Leading opposition candidate Martin Fayulu has urged the electoral commission to announce the true results as quickly as possible and warned it not to "play with fire, it is very dangerous."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News
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