Voting has begun, after almost a three-hour delay, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) presidential election as authorities scrambled to finalize preparations in an election facing steep logistical and security challenges.

Iran PressAfrica: Some 44 million people — almost half the population — are expected to vote. But many, including several million displaced by conflict in the vast country’s east, could struggle to cast their ballots. The fighting has prevented 1.5 million people from registering to vote.

In the eastern DRC, people said they were not finding their names on voting lists.

“The voters displayed on lists at the polling station are fewer than those who are lining up. I can’t find my name on the list and this could cause scuffles here because I also want to vote,” said Jules Kambale at a polling station in Goma.

Waiting for polls to open amid the delay, people grew agitated and began arguing, particularly in the capital.

A candidate needs a majority of votes in the first round to win.

President Felix Tshisekedi seeks his second and final five-year term, running against about 20 other candidates. His main rival appeared to be Moise Katumbi, former governor of Katanga province and a millionaire businessman whose 2018 campaign was thwarted by the government of former President Joseph Kabila.

But the opposition remains fractured, making Tshisekedi the likely favourite.


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