European Union slams DR Congo decision to expel ambassador ahead of elections

The Heads of International Electoral Observation Missions present for the 2018 presidential legislative and provincial elections in the Democratic Republic of congo

Protests in eastern Congo over election postponment - Entertainment News

Soldiers and police in the city of Beni in eastern Congo fired in the air on Thursday to disperse demonstrators who barricaded roads and burned tires to protest the decision to exclude them from a presidential election this Sunday.

Anti-Kabila parties are divided - Felix Tshisekedi of the long-running UDPS refused to rally behind Martin Fayuli as the opposition's single candidate.

The sanctions consist of a ban to enter the EU and an asset freeze of 14 people, including Shadary, who is also a former interior minister, according to EU Observer. But the government has refused to accept election monitors from the European Union and USA -based Carter Center, which said Kabila's re-election in 2011 was marred by widespread fraud.

The elections have been delayed several times by President Joseph Kabila who says voters have not yet been registered.

"The composition of the electoral commission does not give any advantages to any one component - meaning you have the majority (ruling party), you have the opposition which is represented in the commission, and of course the civil society", he said.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus does not mention the election but expresses concern after protests erupted on Thursday and Friday in two Ebola-hit cities that have been barred from voting on Sunday.

Congo's electoral commission (CENI) announced on Wednesday that it was cancelling the vote in Beni, its surrounding areas and the nearby city of Butembo due to an ongoing Ebola outbreak and militia violence.

The opposition coalition called for a nationwide "ghost town" strike on Friday but urged supporters to remain calm.

On Thursday, DR Congo's Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu said the government had "patiently" asked the European Union to suspend the sanctions until after the elections, but it had refused. Most of the patients who fled had tested negative for the virus, a health ministry spokeswoman said.

Voting elsewhere in the vast central African nation will go ahead on Sunday as planned, the CENI said.

There have also been deadly protests in cities such as Beni and Butembo after authorities announced that voting in those two cities would be postponed until March 2019 because of the threat of the deadly Ebola virus.

The election already had been pushed from December 23 to Sunday after a fire in the capital, Kinshasa, destroyed voting materials.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has not had a peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.

The Ebola virus is spread via infected bodily fluids, and some have anxious about using the touchscreens of voting machines.

Health officials had said precautions were in place so people in the Ebola outbreak zone could vote.

With President Joseph Kabila's successor due to be sworn in next month, it appears the votes of more than a million people could be discounted.

In August, the president's ruling coalition named Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a die-hard Kabila loyalist and former interior minister now under sanctions by the European Union, as its candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

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