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150,199 cases of electoral registration fraud uncovered

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KINSHASA , 15 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - The Independent Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced on Monday that 150,199 people had been caught registering to vote twice.

Commission Chairman Apollinaire Malumalu said 300,398 of the names on the voter list had been registered twice with the same fingerprints.

"Any voter who deliberately registers more than once will be struck off the electoral list," he said, referring to the article 45 in the country's voter bill.

So far, cases of fraud have been only discovered in Kinshasa where registration ended in July. Registration started there late and is still taking place in several provinces because of logistical problems particularly in Bandundu and Equateur.

However Malumalu said, "Despite difficulties in deploying electoral kits in those two provinces, voting will not be delayed further."

The vote for a nationwide referendum on the new constitutional has been deferred several times and is now set for 18 December.

"It won't be postponed," Malumalu said.

He also said general elections would take place before the June 2006 deadline. They were to have been held before June 2005, according to the agreement reached in December 2002 amongst all the armed groups that officially ended five years of civil war.

A spokesman for the electoral commission, Dieudonne Mirimo, said in April that the extension of the transition was justified because the adoption and promulgation of a post-transition constitution and electoral laws were not in place due to financial, logistic and security problems.


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