Congo Elections Weren't Free, U.S. House Committee Says

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee urged authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to make sure votes are counted transparently, saying Sunday’s presidential election had been “neither free nor fair.”

Congolese went to the polls to find a successor to long-serving President Joseph Kabila in a vote that was already two years overdue, with Kabila’s protege Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary running for the ruling coalition. The two main opposition alliances said Monday the election was disorderly and people couldn’t vote in some anti-Kabila areas because of broken voting machines or missing voter rolls.

Any irregularities must be addressed and “votes need to be counted transparently and expeditiously,” Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement late Tuesday. “The United States needs to redouble its efforts to support the Congolese people, who want a peaceful transition and a government that responds to their priorities. Our European and African partners need to step up, too.”

Provisional results are expected by Jan. 6 and the final decision on Jan. 15.

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