Polling stations opened in Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, December 30, for a presidential election that is meant to lead to the country’s first democratic transfer of power.
Due to the time difference, voting started an hour earlier in eastern parts of the country. The last polls are scheduled to close at 1700 (1600 GMT), although voting will continue for those still in line.
President Joseph Kabila, ruling since his father’s assassination in 2001, is due to step down after the vote in a milestone change for a country suffering from authoritarian rule, coups and civil wars since independence from Belgium in 1960.
Kabila’s agreement to respect the constitutional term limits should represent progress for Congo and the continent.
Critics say the vote will be plagued by fraud, and that Kabila could continue to rule via his close allies. Formally he can also come back again for presidency in 2023.
There are reports of high turnout of the electorate in different places.
The citizens of areas excluded for Ebols risks decided to organise their own plebiscite, in spite of exclusion.