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The Latest: UN Security Council meets on Congo election

January 4, 2019
Congolese political party observers check independent electoral commission (CENI) officials tally the presidential ballots from over 900 polling stations at a local results compilation center in Kinshasa, Congo, Friday Jan. 4, 2019. CENI said Thursday the results from 20% of the polling stations have been collected. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The latest on Congo’s presidential election (all times local):

11:55 p.m.

France’s U.N. ambassador says the Security Council is keeping close watch on vote counting in the presidential election in Congo.

Ambassador Francois Delattre spoke Friday at U.N. headquarters after a closed-door council meeting that France called.

The council didn’t issue any joint statement, at least for now. It’s due to discuss Congo again in a public session Tuesday.

Delattre says Friday’s private meeting underscored that members are paying attention to the election for a successor to longtime President Joseph Kabila.

The vote could mark Congo’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. The first results are due Sunday.

Echoing remarks made by the African Union, Delattre said the results must reflect the people’s vote.

Observers reported irregularities amid the balloting.

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6:15 p.m.

Congo’s election commission is scolding the Catholic church for saying its data show a clear winner in Sunday’s presidential election, asserting that the announcement could incite an “uprising.”

The church, a powerful voice in the heavily Catholic nation, on Thursday called on the electoral commission to publish the true results in “respect of truth and justice.”

The church deployed some 40,000 electoral observers. It cannot say publicly who the clear winner appears to be, as Congo’s electoral regulations forbid anyone but the electoral commission to announce results.

Congo’s ruling party on Friday called the church’s attitude “irresponsible and anarchist.”

International pressure is growing on Congo to restore internet service and release accurate election results, while some Congolese express doubt that the first results will be released on Sunday as expected.

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