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Congo Readies for Landmark Elections

A woman at a remote medical clinic in Chambucha. She fled fighting between the Congolese army and remnants of the Hutu militias that carried out the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Jason Beaubien, NPR /
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A woman at a remote medical clinic in Chambucha. She fled fighting between the Congolese army and remnants of the Hutu militias that carried out the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Later this month, the Democratic Republic of Congo is scheduled to hold its first free elections in almost half a century -- the troubled central African nation hasn't had free democratic polls since 1960.

With international donors spending more than $400 million on the polls, the elections are the most expensive elections ever held in Africa. But backers say it's worth the hope that a representative government can lead Congo out of years of turmoil.

If none of the 33 presidential candidates gets 50 percent of the vote on July 30, there will be a runoff.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.