Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Close Will the Election Be?

Various polls coming out of Kinshasa have one or another of the three major candidates winning next Monday's election. It's hard to judge their credibility, and most Congo watchers dismiss them: even the best and most well-funded pollsters would have a tough time designing an accurate poll amid Congo's chaos. But it's worth noting that two of the more credible polls have Kabila winning, albeit with widely different results. The Institute Points of Kinshasa has Kabila capturing 32% of the vote, with Kamerhe at 23% and Tshisekedi at 20.5%. The Polls/Bes, on the other hand, has Kabila sweeping the election with 52% of the vote.

An intriguing aside from Pierre Jacquemot, former French ambassador to DRC and now a researcher at French Institute of International Relations (IRIS) in Paris, suggests there might be better information out there somewhere. In an article on the possibility of Bemba tipping the election[1], he notes, “At the moment, according to our own careful research in each province, we estimate Kabila has 35% support and Tshisekedi has 35% support. Just 2-3% could tip the election.” I haven't been able to track down more information about Jacquemot's research, but I've just sent an email to him and I'd be really interested to see how he thinks the provinces break down. 

[1] Jacquemot goes on to say, “The support of Bemba for one candidate or another could be decisive because the results could be very close.” Not to go all self-congratulatory, but I predicted this possibility back in July.

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