Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Delay in DR Congo election date

Voters queue outside a polling station in Kinshasa, DR Congo
The Congolese have little experience of voting

The date of the Democratic Republic of Congo's first multi-party elections for more than 40 years has been postponed until June - a two-month delay.

President Joseph Kabila still needs to give his approval to the date.

The electoral commission says the first round of voting will be on 18 June and a second round if needed would take place after the end of June.

A transitional government was established in 2003 after a peace deal that ended five years of conflict.

Mineral-rich DR Congo, the size of western Europe, has been ravaged by conflict and misrule and there are no transport connections between one side of DR Congo and the other.


Some 17,000 UN peacekeepers are in the country to oversee the elections, but armed groups continue to rampage in parts of the east.

A new constitution, approved in a referendum lowered the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 30 to allow 33-year-old Joseph Kabila, who has been president since the death of his father Laurent in 2001, to stand.

The people of the DR Congo last voted in 1970, when former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko was the only candidate.

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