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Last Updated: Friday, 17 June, 2005, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
DR Congo MPs agree election delay
Joseph Kabila, DR Congo's president
President Joseph Kabila has not rushed to face the polls
The parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo has approved plans to postpone by six months general elections that were due this month.

The electoral commission requested the delay because preparations were behind schedule and voter registration was not due to begin until next week.

Election prospects are particularly poor in eastern DR Congo, where a range of armed groups are still active.

The poll was due under a 2002 deal to end five years of civil war.

The delay to the elections was agreed by a large majority in parliament.

The head of the electoral commission, Apollinaire Malu Malu, had earlier told them that a delay of up to one year was needed.

He said the preparations had fallen behind schedule, in part because his commission is under-funded and has faced difficulties organising voter registration in such a vast country with little infrastructure.

Riot police were deployed around the parliament building in case of a repeat of protests earlier this year when a delay was first suggested.

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The 2002 peace agreement helped set up a power-sharing government, which includes former rebel groups.

But the BBC's Arnaud Zajtman in the capital, Kinshasa, says many Congolese are tired of seeing former rebels ruling the country.

Opposition parties which are not represented in parliament had opposed the delay and had called for more demonstrations. Their supporters have already staged protests which have turned violent.


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