A Fair Election in the Congo?

Alas, it seems like only yesterday I read a story like the one in the Washington Post today about the Congo elections, only the election was Mexico’s. As the Post notes:

Voters eager for peace but fearing new violence trekked to nearly 50,000 polling stations across this sprawling country Sunday to cast ballots for Congo’s first democratically elected government since the dawn of independence 46 years ago.

All but the oldest voters for the first time perused a list of candidates and marked their choice. By the end of the day, millions of Congolese had purple thumbs from the indelible ink that indicated they had voted.

Results are days or perhaps weeks away, but initial reports suggested that turnout was heavy. Voters often waited for hours at polling stations throughout a country that stretches across central Africa, from the Atlantic coast to the eastern Great Lakes region.

Polls in some places opened late, but the day passed with few serious incidents amid the heavy presence of U.N. troops and Congolese police. Dozens of people were killed in campaign-related violence ahead of the vote, including three police officers and one civilian outside an opposition rally Thursday.

The problem is that the incumbent is a highly polarizing figure and the opposition is already laying the groundwork for challenging the outcome if they lose:

Many opposition supporters have already contended that the election was rigged and threatened to riot if Kabila is named the winner. Some of the most vocal are those backing Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former rebel leader and one of four vice presidents, who enjoys broad, passionate support in Kinshasa. Many of his supporters say they are confident of his victory and would find it impossible to accept another outcome — especially if the official winner is Kabila.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, along with the Mexican election situation.