Church urges 'truth' in DR Congo election results

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The first results are expected on Sunday, and the United States and the African Union, among others, have urged Congo to release results that reflect the true will of the people. "We are making progress, but we do not have everything yet", said commission president Corneille Nangaa.

The government has also cut Internet access until the poll results are announced, saying this is a necessary measure to prevent the spread of fake news.

As of Thursday, the electoral commission's president said it had collected results from about 20 per cent of polling stations.

The election commission, CENI, has scheduled to announce the provisional results on Sunday, followed by the definitive results on 15 January and inauguration of the next president three days later.

The Catholic church, which holds a great deal of power in the country, has said its data show a clear victor - a comment that has angered Congo's ruling party. China "lauded the manner in which elections were conducted", the report said, and said a statement should not be published before the results.

The internet remains blocked in the Central African country in an apparent attempt by the government to calm speculation.

Both the opposition and ruling coalition said on Monday they were on track to win after a turbulent election day on Sunday in which many Congolese were unable to vote due to an Ebola outbreak, conflict and logistical problems.

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"All the political actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo have the responsibility to contribute to the success of this transition in the spirit of peace and reconciliation", said a statement from a spokesperson for the EU's external action service.

"This deployment of approximately 80 personnel is in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in reaction to the December 30, 2018, elections there", Mr. Trump wrote, adding that the first of the American forces had arrived on January 2.

Global pressure is growing on Congo to restore internet service - blocked in an apparent attempt to calm election speculation - and release accurate election results, with the United States warning that those who undermine the democratic process could face US sanctions. By Friday evening, the commission had compiled only 44 percent of results, said Jean-Pierre Kalamba, who said the process had been slowed by the requirement that only manually counted ballots could be used.

That is the question observers are asking after the opposition coalition said they will not accept a result that does not declare their candidate Martin Fayulu the victor.

While Congo has been largely calm on and after the December 30 vote, President Donald Trump informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that about 80 military personnel and "appropriate combat equipment" had been deployed to neighboring Gabon to support the security of USA citizens and staffers and diplomatic facilities.

The elections will determine who succeeds President Joseph Kabila, who has been at the helm of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest country for almost 18 years.

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