DRC elections: 3,000 Congolese Belgians cast votes in Brussels

Around 3,000 Congolese Belgians voted in the Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election in Brussels on Wednesday. For the first time in the country's democratic history, Congolese voters living in Belgium were invited to cast their ballots.

"It is a historic moment," said embassy spokesperson David Mputu. For the first time, the Congolese diaspora in Belgium, France, South Africa, Canada and the US were able to vote at the Congolese embassy in their country.

Voting in Brussels took place between 6.00 and 17.00 without incident. Only 3,100 out of about 20,000 potential voters in Belgium registered to vote. The embassy has no explanation for the low turnout, but it could be related to the high level of uncertainty surrounding the election.

Those queuing to vote were happy to do so, with the majority expressing their support for outgoing president Félix Tshisekedi. Others said they were disappointed with Tshisekedi and feared unrest in Congo. All expressed the hope that the election would be as transparent as possible, as a first step towards stability in the country.

Chaos and irregularities

Voting in the DRC itself began on Wednesday morning, with delays and technical problems in many places. The voting process was marred by irregularities, according to opposition candidates.

"It is total chaos, there is no organisation," said presidential candidate Martin Fayulu. "We are waiting for all the voters to cast their votes. If this does not happen, we will not accept these elections."

Denis Mukwege, the Congolese gynaecologist who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, said the electoral process was "riddled with many irregularities".

Denis Kadima, chair of the national electoral commission, said on Wednesday that the commission's website had been the subject of 3,244 cyberattacks the previous day alone. 



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