DRC Gears Up For November Election

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KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 15 (UPI) — Election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo said more people registered to vote for November presidential elections than expected.

Voters in the DRC head to the polls to elect their next president in November. Slightly more than 25 million people registered for the 2006 vote. Officials at the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission said more than 31 million people have registered for November’s vote.

“It is more than we expected,” election commission Chairman Daniel Ngoy Mulunda was quoted by Zambian newspaper Newsday as saying.

Incumbent President Joseph Kabila will likely square off against rivals including the country’s former House Speaker Vital Kamerhe.

The Zambian report notes 2006 runner-up Jean-Pierre Bemba is unlikely to compete in the November contest because he faces charges at the International Criminal Court.

In a July travel warning, the U.S. State Department said elements within the Congolese military and rebel forces pose a significant security threat.

Militants with the Lord’s Resistance Army operate along the border with the DRC, Uganda, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

Witness accounts said armed members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, and the Mai Mai militia were behind the sexual violence in DRC. The FDLR is linked to the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

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