More than 18,000 vie for Congo's 500-seat parliament

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2011 6:03 PM
More than 18,000 vie for Congo's 500-seat parliament

KINSHASA (Reuters) - More than 18,000 candidates will battle for 500 seats in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DCR) parliamentary elections, set for November 28, the electoral commission said on Friday.

Parliamentary and presidential polls, in which President Joseph Kabila is bidding for re-election, are seen as crucial for Congo's stability after decades of dictatorship and war.

The list for the parliamentary polls should have been published last month but was held up because more than 14,000 candidates submitted applications on the final day, said Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, president of the electoral commission, or CENI.

The delay in publishing the list, which is twice as long as for the last election in 2006, would have no impact on the date of the vote, said Mulunda, and the time had been used to correct any mistakes before printing began.

"I want to confirm that elections will take place, on November 28, both presidential and legislative," he said.

The commission did not give details as to how many candidates each party had, although Kabila's PPRD party and that of his presidential rival and former ally Vital Kamerhe are expected to field the most.

There are growing concerns over DCR's readiness for the poll, with thousands of tonnes of electoral material yet to arrive in the country and campaigning due to start in less than two weeks.

(Reporting by Jonny Hogg; Editing by David Lewis)