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DRC president upbeat on progress

With the Democratic Republic of Congo having national elections Monday, the incumbent president Joseph Kabila Kabange said his country was on the road to recovery.(UPI Photo/Monika Graff) | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/9f99f20a65e71b1ee6602bb5c0f0ed69/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
With the Democratic Republic of Congo having national elections Monday, the incumbent president Joseph Kabila Kabange said his country was on the road to recovery.(UPI Photo/Monika Graff) | License Photo

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- With the Democratic Republic of Congo having national elections Monday, the incumbent president said his country was on the road to recovery.

DRC voters headed to the polls for just the second democratic election since the country gained independence in 1960. Thousands of contenders are vying for seats in the country's National Assembly and nearly a dozen candidates are jockeying to unseat Joseph Kabila as president.

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A report from London think tank Chatham House notes that few among the DRC constituency "really expect Kinshasa politics to be anything other than personalized, abusive and corrupt."

Violence was reported during the weekend between political rivals planning election rallies. Chatham House said violent protests were to be expected but they shouldn't linger as most voters are unlikely to risk the consequences of opposition.

Incumbent President Joseph Kabila told al-Jazeera that the country was moving toward recovery.

"Slowly but surely Congo is recovering, as a giant who is waking up after a long sleep," he said.

The Arab broadcaster notes, however, that most people in DRC make only about the equivalent of $300 a year, making it one of the poorest countries in the world.

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Kabila is expected to fend off serious challenges from his political rivals. Chatham House characterizes the political climate in Kinshasa as "anything but level."

"The relative lack of international attention is perhaps indicative of a sense that the 2011 presidential poll is something of a foregone conclusion," the policy center adds.

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