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Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
DR Congo's delayed poll gets date
Polling station
DR Congo's infrastructure has been wrecked by war and misrule
Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been delayed until 30 July this year, electoral authorities say.

The election is to be the first multi-party poll in 45 years, ending a turbulent post-war transitional period that began in 2003.

Voting was scheduled for mid-2005, but has been postponed repeatedly to allow more time for candidates' registration.

The presence of militia groups in the east of the country has also posed a further threat to free elections.


"The first round of the presidential election and the legislative elections for the national assembly... will be organised on 30 July 2006," the country's Independent Electoral Commission said in a statement.

It added that campaigning would start on 29 June and end at midnight on 28 July.

'Enormous job'

No new date has yet been announced for the second round presidential vote.

UN peacekeeping troops in DRC
The UN mission in DR Congo is the largest in the world

Electoral commission president, Apollinaire Malu Malu, called on political figures to carry on a "permanent dialogue" and said there was an "enormous job" to be done in order to produce 170 different types of voting card for the different polls in the country's 169 electoral constituencies, AFP news agency reports.

After years of war and misrule, there is little infrastructure in DR Congo, which is about the size of Western Europe, and there are no road or rail links from one side of the country to the other.

More than 1,000 people are estimated to be dying each day in the country, where fighting - particularly in the east - continues.

These hostilities between rival militias and government forces also continue to force hundreds of thousands of displaced people from their homes.

A United Nations peacekeeping force of nearly 17,000 troops - the world's largest - operates in the country and is to be augmented by a 1,500 European Union rapid reaction force over the election period.


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