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The DRC Prepares for October Runoff Election

VOA News | Published on August 22, 2006

listen to the interview with Grace Lula audio clip

As the Democratic Republic of Congo prepares for the runoff election between President Joseph Kabila and Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba on October 29th, the Independent Electoral Commission says it needs additional help from the international community. Grace Lula, a member of the commission spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty about what was learned during the first election and how to better organize for the runoff.     

"At this stage we do not have funds for the runoff election. We are just waiting for the international partners, those who are helping us to run these elections," she says.

"If the Electoral Commission is not supported, by itself, it's not going to fund this election. The government has not enough possibility. So the international partners have to help us in this," she added.

Lula says additional finances are needed because the DRC is so large. She says even though there are only two candidates, funds are required for logistics.

"It's a bit difficult for me to say the amount because first of all we have to do a kind of evaluation…and try to see what we need…But I know that it will be a lot of money because this country is very, very huge," she said.

Lula says voters do not have to register for the runoff elections.

"They are not going to register once more; they are going just to use their ID cards that they have already used for the first time," she noted.

Grace says voters who registered in the provinces but moved to the cities must return to their provinces to vote, otherwise they cannot vote in the run-off. She says the Commission is working to clarify a problem encountered in the first round of voting. 

"People were not sensitized on how to vote, how to mark the ballot paper. There were some of them who were marking twice or even three times on the same ballot paper. So we have to sensitize people enough so that second round people can vote without making too many mistakes," she added.

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