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Congo election commission summons presidential candidates for urgent meeting

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KINSHASA (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission (CENI) has summoned the candidates in Sunday’s presidential election to a meeting at the presidential palace amid reports the vote could be delayed.

Marie-France Idikayi, a CENI spokeswoman, invited the candidates to an 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) meeting. Her message, which did not specify the reason for the meeting, was sent on Wednesday and seen by Reuters.

Idikayi denied media reports on Wednesday that CENI was considering postponing the election by a few days due to delays deploying voting materials to polling stations.

CENI president Corneille Nangaa is scheduled to give a news conference at 3 p.m (1400 GMT).

Preparations for Sunday’s vote, which has been postponed repeatedly since 2016, were disrupted by a fire last week in the capital Kinshasa, which the commission said destroyed some 80 percent of the city’s voting machines.

The election is meant to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who is due to step down after 18 years in power, in what would be Congo’s first democratic transition.

(Reporting By Stanis Bujakera; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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