President Joseph Kabila has taken 90 percent of the vote in the eastern provinces of North Kivu, Maniema and Katanga.
But he managed only 16 percent in the capital, Kinshasa, where his chief rival, Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, appears to have swept the board.
The results betray Congo's deep divisions. Bemba is a former rebel.
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by David blair 9 Aug 2006.
Photo: Joseph Kabila with his wife, after voting in Kinshasa (David Blair)
Aug 7 2006 Telegraph Blogs: David Blair: Congo's election drags on
All the votes cast on July 30 are supposedly being counted at the moment. But reports from around the country suggest this process is degenerating into a shambles. A counting centre holding about one quarter of all the votes cast in the capital, Kinshasa, mysteriously caught fire last week.
All across Congo, reports have emerged of ballots being taken to counting centres and then dumped in large piles and ignored. Others seem not to have made it to counting centres at all. Used ballot papers have been mixed with blank or spoiled ones. Meanwhile, the local media have busily reported "unofficial" results - apparently leaked from the counting centres - suggesting that President Joseph Kabila is sweeping eastern Congo but trailing behind his main rival, Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba in Kinshasa and the west.
While in Kinshasa, I wrote that the key question for the election was whether the three vice-presidents who are running for the top job will accept the outcome of the poll. One of them, Azarias Ruberwa [pictured here below], has now announced that he will challenge the result when it emerges. Another, Arthur Z'Ahidi Ngoma, denounced the contest even before voting began.
This election was intended to give Congo its first legitimate government for 45 years. But if the count is a mess and the result bitterly disputed, it could have exactly the opposite effect and provide Congo with yet another spur to conflict and division. Final results are now expected on August 20, but a second round between the top two presidential candidates - probably Kabila and Bemba - will almost certainly take place in October. At present, the prognosis looks bleak.