Bloomberg News

Congo President’s Party Increases Seat Lead in Parliament

February 02, 2012

(Updates with latest results from first paragraph.)

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The political party of Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila leads the provisional list of candidates elected to parliament with 483 of 500 seats decided, the country’s electoral commission said.

Of the 500 seats, the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy has at least 60 so far, according to results e-mailed by the commission today from Kinshasa, the capital. The opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress has the second-highest tally with 41, it said. More than 100 political parties will be represented in parliament, according to the commission’s announcement.

Kabila’s allies look destined to win a majority of seats, according to the results. Parties in the Presidential Majority group and other parties who’ve previously given Kabila their support already make up more than 260 seats. They will still need to form a government. Congo’s Supreme Court is hearing challenges to the results, which are scheduled to be certified by March 16.

Almost 19,000 candidates from more than 450 political parties vied for National Assembly seats. The Nov. 28 election, Congo’s second after 40 years of dictatorship and war, was marred by irregularities including lost ballots, contested results and violence, according to electoral observation missions from the U.S.-based Carter Center, the European Union, and Congo’s Catholic Church.

Etienne Tshisekedi, the leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress who came second in the presidential election, rejected the parliamentary results and told members of his party to refuse their seats, UDPS secretary-general Jacquemain Shabani said in a mobile phone message on Jan. 27.

Congo is the world’s top producer of cobalt, which is used to make rechargeable batteries, Africa’s biggest tin miner and the continent’s second-largest producer of copper, after Zambia.

--Editors: Paul Richardson, Vernon Wessels.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Kavanagh in Kinshasa on Mkavanagh9@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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