Congo-Kinshasa: Voting Begins Amid Insecurity Fears

About 44 million people have the opportunity to select the next president of the Democratic Republic of Congo from a pool of 19 candidates, reports BBC News.

In addition to choosing the next president, voters are also electing parliamentary, provincial, and municipal representatives, with a total of around 100,000 candidates participating.

To facilitate the distribution of voting materials to over 175,000 polling booths, the electoral commission sought the help of UN peacekeepers.

The lead-up to the polls in the eastern regions was overshadowed by concerns of insecurity. Numerous armed groups are vying for control in different parts of the region.

Despite the presence of a UN peacekeeping force, an East African regional force, and Congolese soldiers, the violence continues, leading to the displacement of about seven million people from their homes. Many of the displaced people faced challenges in registering to vote, sparking criticism of the registration process.

Over  13,000 Congolese nationals in South Africa, France, United States, Canada and Belgium are also expected to vote – first for the country.

The electoral commission is expected to announce provisional results on December 31.