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US Ambassador Comments on DRC Election Process

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VOA News - August 10, 2006

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In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), officials report that eight of the 60 compilation polling offices have reported results. The initial outcomes show President Joseph Kabila leading in several eastern cities, while Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba leads in the west. The Independent Electoral Commission released preliminary results yesterday and could release additional national figures next week.

In Kinshasa, US Ambassador Roger Meece visited select polling centers on election day; he says he was pleased with Congolese voters and the polling procedures. Ambassador Meece tells VOA French Service reporter Ferdinand Ferella that despite some irregularities at the polls, the July 30th vote was commendable.

"Clearly it is important to get to the truth of whatever irregularities may have occurred. No elections are ever perfect. However, whatever I have seen thus far, the elections on July 30th were, I think, generally very well conducted, and I look forward to seeing the results of the Commission's work, both in terms of election results and reports of whatever irregularities may have occurred."

As for the challenges facing a newly elected government, Ambassador Meece acknowledges the problems are daunting.

"This is a very large country. There are still security issues in the east; major problems in terms of the training and formation of a single unified army, and other reforms in the security sector. There are enormous issues needing to be addressed in terms of a health system and the education system, [and] re-launching a positive cycle of economic growth."


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