Two months after voters went to polls in a chaotic election, the electoral commission announced Friday that parties supporting Congo’s president won two-thirds of legislative seats. The commission also indefinitely postponed provincial elections that were scheduled for March. Electoral officials said they also want to annul results of the legislative elections in seven of Congo’s 169 voting districts and prosecute a dozen candidates accused of introducing irregularities and violence. Local and international observers have already said the Nov. 28 elections for the president and 500 national assembly seats were too flawed to be legitimate. It was only the second democratic election Congo has ever held, with the stability of the mineral-rich African nation at stake. Critics say any election results are unreliable because millions of voters were unable to cast ballots, hundreds of thousands of ballots have been tampered with and 1.3 million completed ballots went missing.
Even before voting began, security forces attacked and intimidated the opposition, and the voters roll was flawed. According to official results of the presidential race, President Joseph Kabila won with just 49 percent, aided by a constitutional amendment that scrapped a second round if no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote.
Congo’s powerful Roman Catholic Church has called for mass protests Feb. 16 against what it calls “serious errors” in the election results.