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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 10:41 GMT
DR Congo result heightens tensions
By Mark Doyle
BBC World Affairs correspondent

Political tensions are high in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the announcement that incumbent President Joseph Kabila has won last month's post war presidential elections.

UN soldier guards bags of ballot papers in DR Congo
Some 17,000 UN peacekeepers are in DR Congo
The electoral commission said Mr Kabila got 58% compared with the opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba's 42%.

Supporters of Mr Bemba, including some members of the powerful Catholic Church, said they did not accept the result.

The gap between the percentages won by President Kabila and Mr Bemba is about 2.5m votes.

Those rejecting the result may find it difficult to prove fraud on such a scale in elections which were closely supervised by the United Nations and hundreds of officials from South Africa's experienced Electoral Commission who went to DR Congo to help in the process.

HAVE YOUR SAY
We understand that Kabila himself will not bring peace - he needs the help of the people
Lwango Tchomba, South Africa

But voters in the politically sensitive capital, Kinshasa, may nevertheless feel cheated because they voted overwhelmingly in favour of Mr Bemba.

This reflects the ethnic and linguistic split in the country.

Mr Bemba comes from the west and the west voted for him. Mr Kabila had most support in the east.

Fears

The most serious potential flashpoint is Kinshasa, in the west of the country, where Mr Bemba has militiamen and could call out crowds of supporters, but where Mr Kabila has thousands of heavily armed presidential guards.

RUN-OFF RESULTS
Map
Kabila: 58.05%
Bemba: 41.95%
Votes counted: 100%

Mr Kabila probably has the military upper hand if it comes to a fight; he recently took delivery of a consignment of T-55 tanks.

But the allegiances of some elements of the regular army are an unknown factor.

Of course, it may not come to this.

The election result could be accepted, and a new era of transparent, accountable government could be about to begin in DR Congo.

If it does, that would be a first for the country.

International peacekeepers from the UN and a special military unit from the European Union have been patrolling Kinshasa's streets.

A particularly sensitive area is a stretch of the main boulevard in the centre of the city which separates the offices of Mr Kabila and Mr Bemba by just a few kilometres.

There is a graveyard and a golf course nearby, where fighters from both sides have, in the past, taken up positions.




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