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Voters registration ends in Kinshasa

KINSHASA, 2 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - The Independent Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo has said 2.9 million people in Kinshasa, the capital, had signed up to vote in the 2006 elections by the time registration centres closed on Sunday.

"We registered more then 80 percent of Kinshasa," Norbert Basengezi, the deputy president of the commission, said.

Registration started in Kinshasa on 20 June and spread to the provinces of Orientale, in the northeast, and Bas-Congo in the west, on 25 July. Officials said in three weeks they would also begin registering in the provinces of Katanga and the Kasais.

However, the opposition Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social (UPDS), which has strong support in the capital, questioned the number of registered voters in Kinshasa.

"Kinshasa has at least eight million people and 65 percent of them are aged between 18 and 45 years," Valentin Mubake, a UPDS official, said.

For registration to have been a success, he said, the commission should have registered at least four million voters in Kinshasa.

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