War-ending Kabila set to lead DRC

KINSHASA - The man expected to win historic elections in Congo helped end the continent's most devastating war.

KINSHASA - The man expected to win historic elections in Congo helped end the continent's most devastating war.

Joseph Kabila, the 35-year-old interim president, inherited the job from his father, Laurent Kabila, who was assassinated by a bodyguard in 2001. Rwandan troops had helped propel Laurent Kabila to power as head of a rebel force that had risen up against dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, whose 32-year dictatorship ended in 1997.

Joseph Kabila is credited with taking the initiative to end Congo's 1996-2002 war by uniting warring rebels to form a transitional government that paved the way for elections. Among the former fighters he brought into his transitional government was DRC vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, his main election rival.

Kabila and Bemba finished first and second during the July 30 first round. No one in the crowded field then won the majority necessary to avoid the runoff, held on October 29.

Results from 90percent of votes published on the election commission website on Monday give Kabila nearly 60 percent to Bemba's 40percent in the runoff.

No official announcement is expected for another two days while the commission completes its investigations into fraud complaints lodged by Bemba's camp.

As interim president, Joseph Kabila kept a low profile and rarely made public appearances.

His youth has been an issue. During negotiations over a constitution that paved the way for the elections, the minimum age for a presidential candidate was lowered from 35 to 30 allowing Kabila's bid. - Sapa-AP

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