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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Kabila gains key run-off support
President Joseph Kabila and his nearest rival Jean-Pierre Bemba
Joseph Kabila (l) faces Jean-Pierre Bemba (r) in October's run-off
Two major Democratic Republic of Congo presidential candidates have urged their supporters to vote for President Joseph Kabila in the second round.

Antoine Gizenga, who came third in July's historic poll, and Nzanga Mobutu, who came fourth, have announced their support for the incumbent.

Mr Kabila now looks to be the clear favourite in the October run-off against Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Mr Kabila gained 45% of the vote in July, against 20% for Mr Bemba.

A spokesman for Mr Mobutu said he had made the choice to preserve DR Congo's unity.

Mr Kabila won a first-round landslide in the east, while Mr Bemba gained the backing of most westerners, especially in the capital, Kinshasa.

Mr Mobutu, son of former leader Mobutu Sese Seko, is also from the west and so his support would enable Mr Kabila to enjoy a more nationwide legitimacy.

The support of the two men's parties in parliament would also give Mr Kabila a majority, which would enable him to choose a prime minister.

The 500 new MPs were sworn in on Friday.

The second round will conclude the country's first democratic polls since independence in 1960.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested hundreds of people living rough in Kinshasa, after violent protests in favour of Mr Bemba earlier this week.

"These young people have been behaving like bandits for some time now, attacking members of the public. We have had several complaints," police chief Patrick Sabiti told the AFP news agency.




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