UN Security Council meets on Congo election

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U.S. President Donald Trump says military personnel have deployed to Central Africa in advance of possible "violent demonstrations" in Congo over results of Sunday's presidential election. The letter notes that further troops may be deployed "if necessary" until the "security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed".

The outcome of the vote will decide a successor to incumbent President Joseph Kabila, who is due to step down this month after 18 years in power.

The Catholic Church is one of Congo's most powerful institutions, representing about 40 per cent of its 80 million people.

The election commission, CENI, has scheduled to announce the provisional results on Sunday, followed by the definitive results on 15 January and inauguration of the next president three days later.

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Worldwide 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.

The United States called on CENI on Thursday to publish accurate results and threatened sanctions against anyone who sought to undermine the process.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said following the meeting that "the consolidation of the results must continue with transparency" and that the results to be announced "must be consistent with the vote of the Congolese people".

Opinion polls had shown Shadary trailing Fayulu and Tshisekedi, who have been buoyed by rising dissatisfaction with Kabila's tenure.

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An African Union observer mission said in a separate statement on Wednesday that election day, which also included votes for national and provincial assembly members, was peaceful yet blighted by a number of logistical problems.

The UN Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting today, requested by France, about the elections.

A marathon vote count is underway in a climate of deep suspicion about fraud in a country scarred by political turmoil and haunted by memories of violence.

A man examines voting materials at Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) tallying centre in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan 1, 2019. "Only the electoral commission can do that and we are here to check that this is what is done".

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Kabila's government refused to accredit election monitors from the European Union and the USA -based Carter Center, which said there were widespread irregularities in the 2011 election.