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Opposition party refuses to back candidate

Published Sep 26, 2006

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Kinshasa - The opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) on Tuesday renewed its unwillingess to accept the electoral process under way in the Democratic Republic of Congo by refusing to back either presidential candidate.

"The UDPS is not part of this process from which it has been excluded by the insitutional managers of this transition" launched in 2003 after a five-year civil war, a statement signed by the party's president and secretary general said.

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The statement implicitly denies any possible alliance between Etienne Tshisekedi's party and the new electoral platform, Union for the Nation, presented in Kinshasa on Saturday by Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, running for the presidency against incumbent Joseph Kabila.

Several young UDPS officials have joined the new platform.

The UDPS has been boycotting the electoral process since its launch in June 2005 on grounds of lack of transparency and "irregularities" and did not give its followers instructions as to which candidate to vote for in the first round of presidential elections on July 30.

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The second round of the vote is set for October 29. - Sapa-AFP

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