(Reuters) -Democratic Republic of Congo is gradually releasing preliminary results from the Dec. 20 presidential election following a chaotic vote and an unscheduled ballot extension that have led the opposition to demand a re-run.
Below are the latest figures from the election commission, known as the CENI, along with details about how the commission is counting votes and releasing its tally, and why critics are disputing the election.
WHAT DO THE LATEST RESULTS SHOW?
The latest update to the CENI tally on Saturday showed President Felix Tshisekedi well ahead of his 18 challengers, with around 72% of around 17.8 million votes counted so far.
Businessman Moise Katumbi and former energy executive Martin Fayulu stand in second and third place respectively with over 18% and over 5% of the vote.
The figures so far are based on results from 55,040 out of almost 76,000 polling stations, according to the CENI.
HOW ARE THE RESULTS BEING RELEASED?
The CENI set up a results centre in Kinshasa called Basolo – “Truth” in the Lingala language – from where it has issued updates on a near-daily basis since Dec. 22.
The commission refers to these results as trends and has not yet said how many of Congo’s 44 million registered voters participated in the election.
HOW IS THE CENI COUNTING VOTES?
According to Congolese electoral law, results released by the CENI are meant to be based on tallies of the paper votes cast in each polling station that have been signed off by witnesses and observers. This is meant to improve transparency and allow results to be easily double-checked if contested.
But the CENI president has told local media the figures it has released so far have been based on a combination of such tallies and figures taken straight from voting machines.
In a report on the election released on Dec. 28, the main independent CENCO-ECC election monitoring group urged the CENI only to publish results based on correctly consolidated tallies from local centres.
WHY ARE CRITICS DISPUTING THE RESULTS?
Opposition presidential candidates say election day irregularities, including the CENI’s unscheduled extension of some voting beyond Dec. 20, have compromised the credibility of the results, calling for them to be annulled.
The CENCO-ECC observer mission and another local election monitoring group, which together deployed thousands of observers, have also highlighted issues on election day and during the vote-count they say throw the integrity of the results into question.
The CENI has acknowledged there were delays on election day, but says it is still on track to deliver a free and fair vote.
WHEN COULD WE GET FULL RESULTS?
The CENI is scheduled to release full provisional results from the presidential vote by Dec. 31.
(Writing by Anait MiridzhanianEditing by Alex Richardson, Diane Craft and Frances Kerry)