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Belgian firm to register voters, official says

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KINSHASA, 13 May 2005 (IRIN) - A Belgian company has been picked to organise the identification and registration of voters for the Democratic Republic of Congo's first post-transition elections, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Apollinaire Malumalu, announced on Thursday.

He said the Brussels-based company, Zetes Pass, would soon arrive soon in the country with 10,000 mobile phones, 10,000 digital cameras, 10,000 digital fingerprinting machines and 10,000 generators to begin voter registration nationwide.

"The materials and the logistics to distribute them would cost about 44 million US dollars," Malumalu added.

The country's transitional government was installed in June 2003 following the signing, in April 2003, of an all-inclusive power sharing agreement between Congolese parties and former rebel movements. The transition is aimed at ending years of civil war.

On 28 April, the electoral commission asked parliament to extend the government's transition to democratic rule beyond June 2005 as scheduled, and asked the two chambers of parliament to determine the duration of the extension sought.

The spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission, Dieudonne Mirimo, said then that the extension was necessary to facilitate the adoption and the promulgation of a post-transition constitution and electoral laws.

The commission had also announced that voter identification and registration would start in June.


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