500 appeals over DRC polls

14 February 2012 - 10:53 By Sapa-AFP

The Democratic Republic of Congo's supreme court said it had received more than 500 appeals over the results of disputed November legislative polls.

"So far, 502 cases have been scheduled. That's the official number, but we could still find cases that have yet to be included by the registry," a court official told AFP.

The deadline to challenge the electoral commission's results for the November 28 vote was Friday. Nearly 19 000 candidates ran for a parliamentary seat.

The official could not specify how many of the 483 candidates who were declared to have won a seat in the vast central African country's 500-strong parliament were affected by the appeals.

The candidates and parties whose election victories are being challenged have three days to draft a response after being notified.

The opposition has challenged the results of the vote which gave President Joseph Kabila's ruling party and its allies an absolute, albeit reduced, majority in parliament.

Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi's Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), which garnered the second highest number of votes, vowed to boycott the house.

Kabila's critics accuse him of expanding the supreme court, which also serves as a constitutional court, from seven to 27 judges to pack it with cronies ahead of the vote.

The court made no changes to the results announced by the electoral commission for the presidential ballot which was held the same day and returned Kabila for another term despite widespread local and international criticism.

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