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Candidates: DR Congo Polls Postponed

Supporters of opposition candidate Martin Fayulu run from tear gas fired by police in Nsele, 50kms east of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dec. 19, 2018.

Elections scheduled for Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be postponed, according to presidential candidates told of the delay.

Congo's top electoral official Corneille Nangaa told the candidates during a meeting Thursday the electoral commission will not be ready to hold the polls by the specified date. Nangaa cited a fire that destroyed hundreds of voting machines in the capital last week as the main reason for the delay.

An opposition candidate who attended the meeting, Theodore Ngoyi, told VOA's French to Africa service that Nangaa did not say when the polls might take place.

Election officials are expected to give a news conference Thursday in Kinshasa.

Congo's polls were originally scheduled to take place in late 2016, but were delayed as President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his second term.

Kabila and Congo's ruling party have endorsed former interior minister Emmanuel Shadary to be Congo's next president.Shadary faces several strong challengers, including Felix Tshisekedi, the head of Congo's biggest opposition party, and Martin Fayulu, a businessman endorsed by a coalition of opposition groups.

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