Turn Out Lower Than First Round: Results Expected to be Close
Many observers and analysts have indicated that the turn out for the October 29th run-off elections was lower than the first round. Although, provincial elections took place on the same day, that did not boost the turn out to the levels of the first round. The lower turn out may be due to the fact that for the most part, the Congolese were not enamored with the two candidates. In fact, Congolese say choosing between Bemba and Kabila is tantamount to choosing between the plague and cholera or cancer and AIDS.
The Congolese people once again demonstrated the stark difference that exists between them and the leaders they had to choose from to be president. The dignified and peaceful manner in which the Congolese voted once again shows that the Congolese are a peace loving people who are unfortunately held hostage by renegade, violent leaders. Unfortunately, the hands of these violent leaders were strengthened by the manner in which the international community financed an electoral process that sidelined the democratic and grassroots forces in the country. The international community invested almost a half billion dollars in the election process.
The announcement of the final results is not expected until November 19, 2006. Bemba and Kabila signed an agreement stating that they will respect the results and not resort to violence to contest any disputes that may arise. They are expected to meet in public once the results are announced.