President Joseph Kabila battling to retain his presidency.
KINSHASA, 22 Aug 2006 (IRIN) - Presidential frontrunners Joseph Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Democratic Republic of Congo will have to make political alliances to win the run-off election due on 29 October, analysts said.
A run-off is needed because, under the country's electoral law, a candidate must win 50 percent plus one vote to be declared the outright winner.
In the results for the first round announced on Sunday, Kabila, the incumbent president, won 44.8 percent of the votes, and Bemba, his nearest rival and one of the vice-presidents, 20 percent. Kabila swept the east of the country and Bemba the west.
Kabila won the eastern provinces of Orientale, North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema and Katanga, which account for 11.5 million of the nation's 25 million registered voters. Bemba won in the western provinces of Bas-Congo, Equateur and the capital, Kinshasa.
Nationwide, about 18 million voters - just over 70 percent of the electorate - took part in balloting on 30 July, and some analysts say that in a second round Kabila will easily retain the numerical advantage.
"If voter turnout remains the same as in the first round, and if voters in the east poll for Kabila for the same reason as they did [the first time], then he would need six percent more votes, that is to say close to 900,000 votes, to win," Philippe Biyoya, a professor of constitutional affairs from the Protestant University of Congo, said on Monday.
"Bemba for his part would have to fight hard to gain the 30 percent, that is 5.1 million votes, to hope to win," he added.
Both men, he said, would have to battle for votes in Kasai Oriental and Kasai Occidental, strongholds of veteran politician Etienne Tshisekedi. To get votes there, they would have to win Tshisekedi's support.
Tshisekedi did not compete in the elections. Votes that would almost certainly have gone to him went to Oscar Kashala, leader of l'Union pour la reconstruction du Congo, the candidate in fifth place, Biyoya said.
|Presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba, Kabila's main rival.|