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Congo Election

Votes are still being counted from the provincial elections and run-off presidential election held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some twenty-five million Congolese were registered to vote. The results will be announced by or on November 19th. In July, voters elected a five-hundred member parliament.

The two major presidential candidates in Congo were transitional President Joseph Kabila of the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy, and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, head of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo. In July's first round of balloting, Congo's Independent Electoral Commission announced that Mr. Kabila won just over forty-four percent of the votes versus twenty percent for Mr. Bemba. As none of the thirty presidential candidates won a majority, the top two recipients faced off in the second round of balloting on October 29th. Both sides signed a commitment to renounce violence and guarantee the security of the loser.

The presidential election in Congo is the final stage of a peace process and transition to democratic rule set forth in the Global and Inclusive Agreement of 2003 that ended a decade of violence that killed more than four-million people and destabilized the region.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented on the election process:

"In terms of the way this election unfolded, given the obstacles that were present, this election was light years beyond anything we've scene in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and I think the Congolese people should be congratulated on the kind of election that they have held."

The United States, "will continue to support the Congolese people and its democratically elected new government as they confront the many challenges before them," says State Department spokesman McCormack. He says the U.S. "remain[s] committed to the success of this important new democracy in central Africa."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.